June 9–July 21, 2001
Andreyev’s new work combines the production of a gallery-sized Wheatstone Stereoscope and images of contemporary simulation in entertainment arcades with research into nineteenth century mechanisms used to create three dimensional illusions. Virtual technologies developed for video arcades can be seen as contemporary equivalents of historical mechanisms such as the stereoscope. She is interested in technology and vision, and contemporary technology in relation to origins of technology. Contemporary imagery quite often conceals its construction. However, by conflating earlier procedures with contemporary content which shows the illusionary image, the viewer can become aware of the actual construction of vision. Before photography was invented in the nineteenth century, Sir Charles Wheatstone invented the first stereoscope (in 1832) which created a three dimensional illusion from a stereoscopic pair of drawings. Each image from a stereoscopic pair is mounted vertically facing each other, and each image is reflected in one side of a ninety degree mirror mounted in the centre. By placing one’s eyes close up to the mirrors, each eye looking in one side of the ninety degree mirror, one can see a three dimensional illusion as the reflection of the images overlap in one’s field of vision.
The installation consists of one pair of stereoscopic photographs, mounted directly across from each other on the walls of a gallery space. Life size photographs have been created on site at Playdium arcade in Vancouver, one of the largest arcades in North America. The images show specific games with participants using them.. The viewing device is made of a small cube of mirror mounted in the middle of the gallery space, with the viewing points positioned at the corners of the mirrored cube. Because of the nature of the lighting, and the long explosures used to photograph the scene, the people using the games appear somewhat ‘ghost-like’, blurred into the image on the game’s monitor, and in contrast, the technology appears ‘solid’. Other figures, stationary and well lit, appear more three-dimensional and tangible than the users of the games. The contrasting appearance of the people in the images parallels the viewers in the gallery and the ghost like three dimensional images produced by the viewing apparatus.
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artist: Julie Andreyev
Writers: Trevor Mahovsky
Design: Steedman Design
Printer: Generation Printing
Year published: 2001
Binding: Staple Bound
Features: 4 b&w images, 2 colour images
Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 1 cm
Weight: 57 g
Price: $2 CDN
Stereoscope is a publication of new work by Julie Andreyev from her exhibition Stereoscope at Artspeak. For the publication, Vancouver artist and writer Trevor Mahovsky draws upon his interest in the history of stereoscopes in contemporary cultural criticism for his essay, “Attention Machines: A Context for Julie Andreyev’s Stereoscope.” Designed by Judith Steedman, this publication explores the embedded historical sources of viewing devices and virtual environments within contemporary entertainments.
Andreyev’s new work combines life-size photographs created at Playdium arcade in Burnaby, one of the largest arcades in North America, and a stereoscopic viewing device based on Wheatstone’s model. A pair of stereoscopic photographs showing arcade players are mounted on opposing walls of the gallery space. The viewing device, made of small mirrors set at a ninety degree angle, are placed in the centre of the gallery space with the viewing point positioned at the corner. The mirrors capture reflections of the photographs, righting the reversed images and merging them into a 3D tableau. Should other bodies enter the space between the mirror and the photograph, their presence will register only partially, peripherally, since the reflections register in only one half of the viewer’s split vision.
Virtual technologies developed for video arcades can be seen as contemporary antecedents of historical mechanisms such as the stereoscope: Andreyev addresses the origins of these instruments as well as our desire for virtual space. While the promise of the video game or the VR environment is the transcendence of the body, and transfiguration into a machine that moves faster, further, longer without the attendant danger to life and limb, bodily experience cannot be easily eclipsed in viewing this work. From the meandering path of entry to the positioning of the eyes before the viewfinder, to the targeting of the wispy presence of other viewers in relation to the fixed pictures, we time our movement through the quiet space and consider the mechanics of vision, apparition and illusion in the context of a culture that privileges the sense of sight above all others.