Expanded Stereoscopy

Project: Research

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Expanded Stereoscopy disrupts the hegemony of perceptual realism in stereoscopic (3D) art to explore a vast, as yet unexplored realm of alternate 3D vision. It is motivated by an awareness of the imminence of widespread stereoscopic immersive technology.Since the beginnings of stereo-photography (Brewster Stereoscope, 1849) stereoscopic vision has been marginal, – notable exceptions include Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954) and Warhol and Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein (1973). However, since Cameron’s Avatar (2009), stereoscopic films have become a de-facto standard for cinematic release. Simultaneously, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have matured and proliferated (Google Cardboard, 2014; Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, 2016; Microsoft HoloLens, 2017). In terms of future use, 3D appears poised to grow further; in October 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to get one billion people into VR (Manthorpe 2017).This newly-emerging stereoscopic status quo operates within the same principles set out at the beginning of the technology. At a physical level, stereoscopy produces 3D depthperception from the stereoscopic fusion of left and right images. Yet, beyond the normative practice of emulating human vision, stereoscopy can be leveraged to offer new perceptions and aesthetics.While phenomena such as binocular rivalry are well researched within cognitive neuroscience and psychophysics (Levelt 1965; Walker 1978; Alais & Blake 2005; Zou 2017), their artistic potential remains largely untapped. Artists such as Salvador Dali, Memo Akten and Sebastian Buerkner are among the few who have explored this territory. We propose the term expanded stereoscopy to describe stereoscopic processes which create spaces where depth relations are disjointed and paradoxical, where binocular rivalry is used to create unique visual effects or guide viewer attention, or where new dimensionality and visual intensity are excavated from flat source material. Such expanded, technologically-aided uses of stereoscopy allow for ways of seeing that are impossible in the real world and can be seen as a true expansion of the senses.This research will involve an ethnographic research component (interviews with artists working with stereoscopic vision) and a research-creation component (practice-based research into expanded stereoscopy). The investigation will manifest in creative works that explore different strategies in Expanded Stereoscopy, designed for audience evaluation through grounded theory (Strauss & Glaser 1967) to determine the effects of expanded stereoscopy on viewers. The findings of the evaluations will be disseminated via conference presentations and journal articles. The creative works will be exhibited in Hong Kong and overseas. 


Project number9042897
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/20 → …