Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Perception of Reality

Multiple posts on the Growlery, Unreal Nature and JSBlog refer to pictorial and photographic framing, and the perception of reality. This is interesting because one reports what one perceives about perception.

One post referred me to the work of artist Carl Laubin. Please follow the link to his Home Page. Once there, click on the Gallery link and you will see:

If you click on the icon that the arrow is pointing to, it will open up to a fascinating interior architectual landscape. (I did not show the picture here to avoid copyright infringement.) There are multiple classical buildings in the nave of a much larger building. Whether the buildings are themselves the size you would expect, or merely models, is a matter of perception.

However, when I first saw this picture I was immediately reminded of the ruins at the head of the Keet Seel trail: Other Anasazi ruins:

Or Mesa Verde:

What fascinated me about these pictures is the concept of a shelter within shelter. It is also interesting to speculate on the Freudian postulate that whatever comes into your mind when a subject is presented (visually or aurally or, I suppose, in print) is usually the true association in your mind. This pertains more to the emotional/sexual, of course, but I think it may still be valid for the everyday.

At one point, many, many years ago I remember an exhibit at a museum in New York. Scattered about the museum, in corners and on shelves were tiny models of adobe dwellings. It was very striking.

Maybe I am insecure because I desire shelter x 2!


Julie Heyward said...

What comes to my mind when you say "shelters inside of shelters" is a multitude of childhood hide-outs in various attics, and hay barns. They were places greatly embellished, in my mind, by fantastic imagionary trappings.

Beyond that, what it reminds me of is my first darkroom which was in a (private) bomb shelter. From the outside, all you saw was a grassy hump in the ground. To get to it, you went down into a very damp, gloomy, dark basement, felt your way to the back, to two extremely heavy (lead?) doors. You entered the bomb shelter and closed both doors (with a heavy, muffled thump) and were fully isolated not only from all light but all sound.

Inside this special space, I would then, from small 35mm film canisters, conjure up my own, beautiful world -- which would swim softly up to me through the chemicals of the developer.

The other, completely unrelated thing that comes to mind when thinking about "shelter inside of shelter" is the sleeper cars in trains (the old ones). My family used to ride from Virginia to Maine every summer on those and I have strong memories of these monstrous black machines inside of which we each would find our own private little burrow complete with bed and curtains. Maybe around 1960?

Dr. C said...

Julie, Thanks for your insightful, as always, comment. Bomb shelters and Pullmans do strike ancient bells. One could do a whole post on bomb shelters, and the fear of nukes in the 50's. And, why we don't have that fear now even though the threat is higher (yet we fear Muslims of all stripes). As for Pullmans, being born and raised in Chattanooga (read Choo Choo) and having a father that worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 20's, I can relate.

Felix Grant said...

DrC> What fascinated me about these
DrC> pictures is the concept of a
DrC> shelter within shelter.
DrC> ... ... ...
DrC> Maybe I am insecure because I
DrC> desire shelter x 2!

I, of course, see it from a habitat theory viewpoint: you are not insecure, you are obeying your species' imperative to observe from a place of (double) refuge.