[ISEA97] Paper: Paul Woodrow & Alan Dunning – More Real is Real: The Transorganic and Hypermorphic in the Einstein’s Brain Project


In relating Pliny’s famous anecdote about the artist Zeuxis, that Zeuxis (painted) a picture of grapes so deftly represented that birds began to fly down to eat the painted vine, Richard Sennet comments that,

“a modern reader might take this to be a story about the artist’s powers of illusion, a Roman thought it showed art’s relationship to reality”.

If there is a single general expectation of the recent advances in the technologies of virtual reality and hyper-interactive simulation it is that of it’s capacity to present an ever increasing realism. The quest for seamlessly reproduced worlds is paramount in the military and institutional development of the simulation technologies. The ideal (achievable or otherwise) of immersive virtual reality consists of surrounding an individual with images and sounds so apparently like those of the real world that the eye and consequently the brain is fooled into thinking it is in that world. These developing strategies and away from the construction and sustenance of our normal relationship to the world are those of realism rid of expression, symbol or metaphor and they are sustained by the authorities of homogeneity and seamlessness. Just as long rendering times and their outcome of low frame rates are constantly, and expensively, fought against because they disturb the seamlessness and the effectiveness of the illusion so ruptures in the content and the consumption of the worlds are discouraged. Stopping to consider the strangeness of a sound distorted by being played too slowly or the flickering or jerkiness of an image disrupts our sense of ourselves as being in normal relations with a world.  Similarly the consideration of a subtext or a hidden meaning draws attention to our consideration and away from the construction and sustenance of our normal relationship to the world.

  • Paul Woodrow (UK) [1941-2015] has been involved in a variety of inter-disci­plinary and multi-media activities since the late sixties, including performance, musical events, painting and video. He was a co-founder of W.O.R.K.S., the internationally rec­ognized performance group. His more recent work consists of multi-media installations, using video projection and sound. He has exhibited extensively since the early seven­ties including the 4th St. Petersburg Biennale, Russia, where he exhibited a version of the interactive VR work, Einstein’s Brain, the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, Sweden, the Tate Gallery, London, as well as in Japan, Belgium, France, Puerto Rico, Canada, the U.S.A., and South America. Recent presentations on the developing Einstein’s Brain Project include those made at Consciousness Reframed at CAiiA, Newport Wales, and at the First International Conference on Virtual Reality in Valencia, Spain. He has been the recipient of many awards including grants from the Canada Council. He currently teaches Art Theory and Studio at the University of Calgary.  theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/aug/30/paul-woodrow-obituary
  • Alan Dunning, Canada, is a Professor at Alberta College of Art and Design. He has been working with complex multi-media installations, large-scale photographs, artist-books, and hypertexts for the past two decades, using the computer as a tool for generating textual fields and real-time interactive environments. He has exhibited in more than 70 shows since 1980, including solo installations at The National Gallery of Canada,The Banff Centre and Rutgers University, New Jersey. His Internet city, The Lost Dimension, was part of the international exhibition The Digital Village at the University of Maryland. Recent presentations of the devel­oping Einstein’s Brain Project include those made at the 4th St.Petersburg Biennale, Russia; Consciousness Reframed at CAiiA, Newport, Wales; and at the First International Conference on Virtual Reality in Valencia, Spain. He is repre­sented in many collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He currently teaches interdisciplinary and media courses within the Painting Programme at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary.     en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dunning

Full text p. 15-17