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David Wilkinson
The Illusion of Depth


Four Corners

November 4 - 27, 2004

work: one piece - The Illusion of Depth


The Illusion of Depth comprised a stereoscopic projection on two slide projectors, taken from a pair of aerial photographs and showing a large earthwork excavation site from directly above. This projection was viewed using a pair of polarising spectacles.

The hyperstereo nature of this particular photograph induces an acute sensation of the vertiginous for the viewer, often prompting (or facilitating) a deeper exploration of the image, more similar to the experience of watching film than viewing a conventional two-dimensional photograph.

The three dimensional perception experienced by the viewer is a well understood illusion created by the human brain, partly as a consequence of humans having two forward facing eyes. The effect was first realised in the early nineteenth century by experimenters including Wheatcroft, Brewster and Holmes. Holmes said of the stereo photograph, "The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture." The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 3 (June 1859), pp. 738-48.

Including this work in the Still/Moving show seemed an appropriate opportunity to further my own research into the history and development of the stereograph and in particular the use of this technology by artists.

related outcome:
David Wilkinson: Untitled - work for Trunk Show

back to David Wilkinson home page

London Metropolitan University