Sunday, 28 October 2012

What is Perspective?

Filippo Brunelleschi invented perspective as we know it, the measuring of space, it may not be an accident that he had a dark sense of humour, once sending an enemy mad by contriving to have him drunk, while he slipped in to the victims house where on the sots return, he pretended to be him. The victim could not work out the deception, and Brunelleschi was a cool rationalist. In his 'discovery' of perspective, the old conception of seeing, that what you saw was integral to your imagination was overturned by the notion that the eyes simply receive information in the form of light, and that light moves according to scientific rules, hence, even if you were thinking of goblins, you were not actually seeing them, they were to be subjugated to what we now term the subconscious. With that, we usher in humanism and it's out with goblins for a while.
Henri Lefebrve states that it was a socially progressive form of Tuscan farming that, in it's arrangement of  cypress trees along tracks, opens the door for the enlightening discovery of perspective. This seems hopeful, until I refer back to one of my favourite writers, Dave Hickey, who says that Las Vegas also provides such a beneficial flat line social hierarchy. When I think of that fabulous thing, the Las Vegas casino floor, I think floor and ceiling. They always said all you had to get right was the floor and the ceiling, the rest is just burbling machines and that majestic sight of so much humanity simultaneously shaking it's fist at the gods. So with such a view I find both absolutely vast flat line perspective as well as flat line social hierarchy!
Of course Hickey's flat line rests on two preconditions, post the odds and treat everybody the same. On top of that you can riff what you like, be it the pleasure of moving up from food to cocktail, or even up to magician, you can happily believe in aliens from outer space, but underneath it all, there is the humanism of both literal and political perspective.

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