Mirror Mind Body Double

Mirror Mind, Body Double, Installation Loods 6, 2005

As a study for the Natural Phenomena series inquiring into the nature of conscious perception, I desired to create an image in which the weather on one side of a lamp post would be different from the other side. Through digital manipulation, I made the left side of a lamp post in a photograph lighter. The effect is subtle. The two halves of the divided image seem to form a coherent whole. When viewers are asked, they do not identify any inconsistency; the brain modifies its perception of the image, correcting its inconsistencies so that it makes sense to the viewer.

This is an exceptional phenomenon, and yet one that we do not realize is an essential part of perception. The image felt incomplete, the effect was too subtle to be easily noticed; but when I hung the photograph on my wall, the sun finished it for me. Its rays coming through my window cut across the processed image, enhancing the effect of light and shadow. This made the intervention in the first photograph more apparent. The first, unmodified image was the basis for the second; yet now the second could easily be the original of the first. The lightened side of the image looks as though the sun had faded it. The accidental creativity of the sun combined with the intentional creativity of the computer are given hope and meaning through the human filter of perception.