Epistemisphere

epistemisphere_0111 epistemisphere_0222

The title of this series of works is “epistemisphere”.

 These works are my first digital image manipulation files. Submitted to JCU SoCA as part of my bachelors degree and attaining a credit for my effort.

The aim of this series of images is to express a sense of the epistemic incommensurability of the subject, to explore aspects of existence at the deepest levels of inquiry and to inspire it’s audience to seek a deeper understanding of the situation in which it seems we find ourselves! It endeavours to explore these themes from both 1st and 3rd person perspectives, juxtaposing the simultaneous individual uniqueness and collective commonality of the realm of human experience. Key questions held in mind as the work developed were:

Is the world I perceive an extension of my mind?

Is my mind in the world, or is the world in my mind?

Is it possible for my mind to look at my mind?

Am I a phenomenon or a manifestation – or both?

These works explore the theme of epistemic relativism, which can, and does cause real conflict. According to Duncan Pritchard (2011), from the University of Edinburgh’s philosophy department, the different worldviews held by any two given individuals are unique and incommensurable. When a mind engages a topic it does so from it’s own perspective, thus making a true agreement opon a topic realistically impossible. Although alignment of purpose may be achieved, the world I see is not the same as the world you see due to our distinct, individual, unique configuration of perceptual and sensory apparatus, and cognitive structure. Stetsenko, A. (2005).

The infinite regress of consciousness is explored and we are asked to consider what lay at the heart of our capacity to experience and understand the world of form and phenomena. How do we become conscious of ourselves as beings in the world that are able to query our own consciousness? “The self knowing itself, the subject which is its own object, the fusion of being and knowing, is the greatest of all mysteries, the contemplation of which is the beginning of wisdom … because it draws us into a contemplation of the ultimate ground of existence” Powell, G. (1972) p. 270.

The question of subject/object dichotomy is referenced as the works ask us to consider whether we are the knower, the known, or both. Does the objective world actually exist a-priori to our sensory perceptual engagement with it, or is the activity of the mind required to manifest the world of experience? Çüçen, A. (2013).

Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy describes an approach to the inquiry into phenomena; “Phenomenology may be defined … as the study of structures of experience, or consciousness.” This is a rich and practical field, which applies focused attention to sensory and perceptual experiences from surface awareness to very deep levels of interiority. The discipline of phenomenology gives access to insight about our relationship to time and space, nature and culture, self and other. We can engage our experience of manifesting as “beings in the world” through phenomenological experimentation.

The nature of these types of inquiry makes it difficult for the mind to effectively engage with them. I hope with this work to make the concepts a little more accessible through illustrating some of the more intractable facets for the viewers consideration. I feel that extending the visual language used in this series into 3d animations would be exciting and rewarding work.

The .psd digital image files are large enough that they would translate well into giclee printed canvas after rendering as .png’s, which could then serve as a basis for developing mixed media extensions on the theme.

Process:

Downloaded stock texture files from blender artists.org. Selected and cropped images, refined edges and resized for successive layers of “worlds within worlds”. Downloaded image of hands from freestockphotos.biz, using external web based selection and cropping tool for basic clean-up on complex objects, then used eraser tool in PS to finish. Took photos of myself by myself and with the assistance of my daughter and used the same process as above to prepare images for layering into the finished product. Created psd files using common background image in order to visually unify the series. Placed image files one at a time into layers, resized, rasterised, transformed, refined edges, and adjusted opacity as required to achieve desired result, and finally rendered lighting effects to give illusion of surface quality and depth in the finished images.

Academic references:

Çüçen, A. Kadir. 2013, Heidegger’s Reading of Descartes’ Dualism: The Relation of Subject and Object, Uludag University, <http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Cont/ContCuce.htm>viewed 12th September, 2013.

Pritchard, D. 2011, Epistemic Relativism, Epistemic Incommensurability, and Wittgensteinian Epistemology, in A Companion to Relativism (ed S. D. Hales), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi:10.1002/9781444392494.ch14

<http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/people/full-academic/documents/EpistRelativismWitt_000.pdf>viewed 11th September, 2013

Powell, G. 1972, Coleridge’s “Imagination” and the Infinite Regress of Consciousness, inELH, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 266-278, The Johns Hopkins University Press, <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2872246&gt;viewed 12th September, 2013.

Stetsenko, A. 2005, Activity as object related: resolving the dichotomy of individual and collective planes of activity, in Mind, culture, and activity, City University of New York, pp. 70-88, <http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Journal/pdfs/12-1-stetsenko.pdf>viewed 12th September, 2013.

Images sources and permissions:

ANGMAP11 (waterworld), ANGMAP12 (grassworld), ANGMAP 26 (background)

Creative Commons non commercial share alike licenced images.

<http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?24038-Free-high-res-skymaps&gt;

accessed 5th September, 2013.

Hands:

Creative Commons non commercial share alike licenced images.

<http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/10988&gt;

accessed 5th September, 2013.

Face and headshots:

taken by and of the artist.

Self portrait:

Photograph by Jasmin Rose, 2013, used with permission.

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One thought on “Epistemisphere

  1. great project. my own way of understanding is through the lens of process philosophy. the mind cannot look at itself. what it can see is the concretized aspects of experience that arise in the present. part of that is the mind-as-made-object, that the “mind” proper can see. but this mind-as-made-object is, from the viewpoint of psychological time, “in the past” … or from the viewpoint of presence, “in the present as object, or memory” … we are always trying to catch up “to the presence” to “be the mind that sees” but we get distracted by the content, which is capitulated as object. and so it goes

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