Day 29 – The digital stereopticon

The digital stereopticon has reached its first level of completion.

I’ve already used it in the field to capture stereo movies using a pair of matching pearl handled Nikon D90 cameras.

Now the viewing aspect is complete – apart from whittling a few details. And I can take it for a good test run to see what else needs to be tweaked or added next.

My fellow Headlands AIR (artist in residence) Sean McFarland sent me a great image from 1922 of Captn. John Noel setting up his Kinematograph on the Chang La near Everest. A nearly invisible sherpa is bracing the tripod and presumably another is snapping the pic.

It’s 1922. Captain John Noel sets up his kinematograph camera at 23,000ft on the Chang La pass that connects Mount Everest to Chantse in Tibet.

This is me in my dreams! But the digital stereopticon does have the feeling and function of a good piece of experiemental apparatus.

It also reminds me of Harrison’s first chronometer (still dreaming); an amazing and unsurpassed piece of apparatus concocted by a carpeneter. I love the way Harrison continually tinkered with it by adding bits that would correct for problems as they arose  (‘artifacts’) rather than trash it and start again with a device that wouldn’t have those unwanted artifacts. I wonder if he realized that all devices or mechanisms would have artifacts – by definition, they are unexpected – and so starting over would just give him a new set to correct for. A tinkerer rather than a designer perhaps? An artist rather than a scientist?

I’m wondering if what  a scientist would call an ‘artifact’, an artist would call a ‘mark’?

Harrison's H-1 Marine chronometer - 1735

Anyhow, back to the digital stereopticon. I will get the chance to test it thoroughly tomorrow at its first public viewing here at the Headlands.

Sandra being my white mouse

eyepiece details with whittled elements

The mirrors reflect two time matched video images from the two sides of the screen into each eyeball and your brain combines them into one stereoscopic and apparently 3 dimensional moving image. I chose to film the two video with camera’s mounted about 40″ apart so that the depth effect is exagerated. Its as if your eyes were set 40″ apart on your head, giving extraordinary depth perception. It’s somewhat vertiginous, but I like the exaggerated reality.

I’m looking forward to making more video experiments to optimize the spacing for the cameras and then to explore the imagery itself in more depth.

In the meantime, I’ve chosen a movie that reflects my original intent to dissolve the walls of the Project Space. It’s a view from the edge of the beach looking due west, pretty much in line of sight from the central axis of the aWay station.

Here’s a single frame from the paired videos.

3D still (if you can cross your eyes) from the first digital stereopticon movie.

Here’s the completed digital stereopticon in front of the first three proofs of the Rodeo Project prints.

digital stereopticon with (l. to r.) rodeo alpha, rodeo bravo, rodeo charlie.

This arrangement has made it obvious that I should create a pair of 3D Rodeo Project prints to use with the digital stereopticon. That will have to be after I leave though.

It’s great that I still have so much work to do following up from the research I’ve done here. Very much how a research station should operate – lots of lab-work to follow up from the field-work.

One Comment

  1. Gabriel Russo Clothing August 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    WOW! We all grew as artists with you being at the Headlands.
    Thank you!


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