PAUL ROBERT

The Patron Goddesses of the Layabout televisions, DVD players, mirrors, mahogany, aircraft cable. exhibited at Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, NS. 2005.

The Patron Goddesses of the Layabout

This installation is based on the original stereoscope invented by Charles Wheatstone, in which slightly different images to the right and left are seen through mirrors to create the illusion of a single three-dimensional image directly in front of the viewer. The images are of clouds, captured by two separate video cameras about 30 metres apart. The distance between them and the clouds is great enough that the difference in images is minor, but still significant enough to produce an effect of depth.

This installation references the nineteenth century shift in the conceptualization of vision and touch, and its philosophical implications regarding the mind's relationship to the world. Clouds played an emblematic role in this scheme among Romantic painters, concealing and revealing inexplicable mystery and suggesting the instability of the objects of sight. For natural philosophers, the stereoscope drew attention to the body's function in perception; it's subjective pulsings and phantasms producing visual depth in the absence of a spatial referent. My goal is to liberate these motifs from discourses that have tamed their mystery, a pursuit worthy only of a layabout.