Re: Reading White First

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Posted by James Allen on December 21, 1998 at 10:09:58:

In Reply to: Re: Reading White First posted by Daniel Deschuyteneer on December 20, 1998 at 14:51:43:

: Dear Jim,

: Your interpretations requires more then some work on the part of the viewer.

: I looked several times at the picture of your Salor chuval and I wasn't successful to see your "interdigitated" image of the cat with that of an eagle. Seeing a horse or an elephant on the opposite axis was really impossible.

: So I began to modify your picture, using the black and white process of Wendel and other technical artifacts which allow us to read "the white first". Images of two confronted animals could be then clearly seen. This picture can be seen below and two eyes were artificially added in the upper gull to make the things clearer.

: The abstract "animals" look more like two (cats or) dogs with three legs and no one resembles an eagle.

: Your horse or elephant on the opposite axis doesn't appear.

: The picture showed here helped me to see an to understand what "you" see. Nevertheless I think that what "you" see wasn't intentional.

: It's our/your interpretation/imagination which creates the animal forms seen here. If the weaver would really wanted to draw leopards or cats, and eagles, she would surely draw them more realistic, or at least more realistic rendering would appear in earlier or related rugs. I am sure that using the same process I would be successful to create related images in other rugs from other countries.

: Last, I don't think that by only modifying the color scheme that "cat and eagle" could become a horse or an elephant.

: Regards

: Daniel Deschuyteneer

: Firstly you have to be prepared to see the "objects". You have to have cultural information to know what to expect to see. On top of this, as you have pointed out, there is learning that requires work that has to be done. The radiologist who must look for tiny masses in the thyroid gland use reverse polarity digital subtraction angiography. These images present blood as white and all pertinent information as light shades of grey. These light shades of grey are most comprehensible referenced to white. This is the physiologically ideal situation for far field acuity. This is the biological imperative placed on the turkoman, to distinguish two points on the horizon. Is it a bush or is it an enemy. The interplay between the environment and the perceptual mechanism resulted in the Turkoman in their native milleu seeing in a white dominant objective frame of mind. There is actually good proof that this was the case. O,Donovan, a trained ethnographical observer secret agent man, noted that the Turkoman sedars, wise men, could not make comprehensible sense out of the published newspaper pictures he had shipped to him at the Merv oasis. After some experiments he determined that the Turkomans' perception was drawn to the shattered appearing white "objects" delineated by the black lines of the pictographic representation. We are biologically determined to make sense of black dots on white backgrounds, it is powerfully ingrained. They, the turkoman, were equally ingrained to see light grey,whit, objects against a dark background. Their vision as they experienced it would seem very alien to you or me. Now combine this perspective with the prohibition against literal portrayal and their desire to protray shamanic and important cultural material and you have the elements of an obscurational aesthetic. Their objects are well hidden on purpose. Now consider the "little dog" of Yons' imagination, and think of how many data points were used to define it. How much more precise could she have been. Its a joke, she did it perfectly. There is no better way of doing it. The problem is your visual laziness. Your unwillingness to even think about there being other ways of looking at things. These are subconscious prejudices and must be uncovered before any action can be taked to see things "right". Sincerely JIm Allen

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