CPS – ¿The Rest is History?

Research, planning tool and masterplan for Manifesta 8, Murcia and Cartagena, 2010

Professor John M Kennedy FRSC

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Professor John M Kennedy FRSC, University of Toronto

The Chamber of Public Secrets invited me, a psychologist, to Manifesta 8 to demonstrate how pictures communicate in ordinary media as well as art, for the blind as well as the sighted, and for many people, not just those from a narrow culture.  A new psychology of pictures springs from a mysterious discovery:  an outline of a thing makes sense to touch and vision. Esref, from Ankara, never had eyes but he makes pictures. Using raised lines he sketches in outline, draws scenes in perspective, and invents picture metaphors.  To understand Esref, I believe we need to reconstruct art history. The new history will include the resources of touch as well as vision.  It will claim that homo sapiens the cave artist uncovered universals of the human mind that long lay dormant.  A new theory of art will assert that touch finds the same surfaces in the world as the eye. It will recognize that in visible and tactile pictures, the empty gaps in dotted lines stand strangely for solid continuous edges of surfaces. It will rethink the meaning of perspective, because one-, two- and three-point perspective arises from touch’s vantage point as well as vision’s.  It will hold that rhetorical tropes suit pictures that break away from realism, communicating like language. In the earliest picture making, in caves such as Altamira’s, resides a legacy we used to describe as restricted to vision. But please imagine, I beg of you, that cave art from Spain, France and Morocco is much like drawings we now find made by Esref. So let me ask you to think on this: Even in his childhood, Esref wanted to make pictures.  What has blocked us from inviting blind children into the world of art and pictures? Unjustified assumptions make us restrict our invitations to sighted children. But we have misunderstood art, perception, the perceptible world, and the base of human consciousness. We have spread false news. We sorely need to admit fresh powers into our new theories of vision and touch, art and its history. And we need to examine our assumptions, to find out why they are there, what lead to them, what spread them, and what gave us blinkers when we should have been questioning, doubting and re-forming .

Esref Armagan Baptistry sketches

Image 1 -ESREF preliminary sketch of building with 3-point  perspective

Image 2 – ESREF drawing of Baptistry with two-point perspective

Image 3 – ESREF drawing of house from three-quarter view

Written by cpsman8

May 13, 2010 at 9:03 am

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