Tag: metapicture



Gracie Kendal’s Bloom, at LEA22, originally titled “Ce n’est pas encore une peinture.

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.” 

Chuck Palahniuk – Choke

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Mindscape - Animation Film Intertwined

▶ Mindscape (Animation Film)

Another favourite, timeless animation film from the National Film Board of Canada. Mindscape is a work of art that takes you on a journey, a drawing within a drawing, guiding you into its mesmerizing labyrinth.

by Jacques Drouin — 1976

A particularly creative example of the pinscreen animation technique, this film is about an artist who steps inside his painting and wanders about in a landscape peopled with symbols that trigger unexpected associations.

Production : National Film Board of Canada (nfb.ca)


The Black and Blue Duck-Rabbit

One of the most simple, and effective optical illusions is the Duck-Rabbit.


As a metapicture, the duck-rabbit shifts between two images to the observer, but as the meaning flickers between duck and rabbit in our minds, it is always both, and neither. We are drawn into the picture, becoming a part of it lines, and are asked to choose. Of course, the metapicture knows we will never make up our minds, smiling as it holds on to our attention, until we finally look away.

Recently a new picture has been playing this game, capturing the attention, amusement, and irritation, of eyes glaring at screens all over the globe. Yes, the dress.

Black and Blue, White and Gold, Duck and Rabbit?
Black and Blue, White and Gold, Duck and Rabbit?

While it can be explained by logic, the illusion of the dress became an internet phenomenon because it caused confusion, and provoked questions about images in general, and how we perceive them. It also happened to sprout a fresh bunch of internet memes (interesting work on memes here and here):

When you realize it really was black and blue..
When you realize it really was black and blue..

Photo Mar 03, 1 12 48 AM




AFK ©www.cybertwigs.com Cyberspace


“The AFK person haunts the virtual world of which they are a part. AFK straddles the border between online and offline” -T. Boellstorff, Coming of Age in Second Life.

AFK ©www.cybertwigs.com
©www.cybertwigs.com Paper


Some images flicker.


Like a never-ending disappearing act, they flicker, switching appearance over and over again, depending on how we perceive them.

Scott Kim’s True/False ambigram is one illusion that plays with the viewer’s perception. While there is a constant conflict between literal meanings, visually, neither can exist without the other, eternally embedded within the same structure.

Ambigram by Scott Kim
True is embedded within false. False always contains True. Ambigram by Scott Kim

True is embedded within false. False always contains True. Metapictures thrive on such paradoxes.

If the illusion of these images depends on how we look at them, and the multistable shift of visual and verbal meanings occurs within our own minds, than maybe they are watching us too, watching us as we realize we are just as unstable and ever-shifting. And sometimes, we flicker.


▶ Kin-Dza-Dza

The vast desert landscape of Kin Dza Dza! (1986) perfectly symbolizes what this film offers; a minimalistic presentation with a complexity of layers hidden beneath the surface. Absurdity, melancholy, and thoughtful symbolism come together in this unique work. Watch with English subtitles on Youtube:

Part 1: http://youtu.be/I47CNxwlt9U

Part 2: http://youtu.be/eti9Qn4bZDg


ceci n'est pas une pipe ©rene magritte Paper

The Metapicture

W.J.T. Mitchell explores how images provoke their own self-analysis, creating a dialogue within the image itself. He calls this unique type of image “metapictures.” Metapictures refer to their own making, they are self-reflective as they attempt to understand themselves.Matroska ©cybertwigs.com

“Pictures reveal and know themselves, where they reflect on the intersections of visuality, language, and similitude, where they engage in speculation on their nature and history” -W.J.T Mitchell

Self-reflexivity thrives through self-nesting recursive structures, commonly related to “russian dolls,” where one element is nested within another layer of its same form. In other cases, to be self-reflexive is to draw in the viewer to question the structure of the image. In effect, our experiences as viewers often become an extension of that structure. Metapictures elicit a double vision between language and visual experience; they interrogate the authority of language over image. In Ren Magritte’s The Treachery of Images, the relationship between the visual and the verbal is inseparable; without acknowledging the visible element of the picture the text itself also disappears with it, denying it the ability to negate the image in the first place. The beauty of a metapicture is its unfaltering curiosity and playfulness towards perception.

ceci n'est pas une pipe by Rene Magritte

“If I had written ‘this is a pipe’ under my picture, I would have been lying!”

-Rene Magritte