Sunday, 17 January 2016

The physicality of light

When discussing digital works which exist on a screen or as projected images I often come up against the view that painting has more of a physicality which the the printed or projected image lack, that they are somehow less personal and inaccessible.  I understand this logical argument, that evidence of the artists hand speaks of the unique or human, and it is through this we connect. However in my own emprical experince I often feel the reverse is true, feeling more of a connection with the ethereal projected image. In trying to understand why this is the case I have come to the conclusion that it is due to our connection with light. The computer screen or projected image is made of light, all spiritual and scientific theories and beliefs have light as the bringer of life. Light equals life, and therefore I feel we have a preloaded primary connection to a work made from it. Light is a metaphysical force that will always allude to something more, otherness, or spirituality.

A painting could therefore be seen as secondary as it needs a light to be cast on it so that it may reflect its surface qualities. In the projected image light itself is the matter of the work.

during research I came across this passage by Lynn M. Herbert which I believe more eloquently articulates this view.

"In the beginning, there was light, simply light. For followers of the Bible, the words 'Let there be light' marked the beginning of everything. Science tells us that light initiated life on earch; plants and animals could not exist without it. Whatever one's philosophical inclination, light is intrinsic to our physical and spiritual selves. It gives us the power of vision so that looking and consequently 'seeing' is possible. Because the evolution of human intelligence is primarily based on information we have gathered through vision, light has come to mean illumination and enlightenment, a possession of the mind. Not only does it reveal what is around us, it also makes known that which is inside us. That illumination is often spiritual in nature, applied both to God as the source of divine light and to individuals who manifest it.
Like the air we breathe, we take light for granted. It is so fundamental to our being that we don't tend to dwell on it. And yet, it is light's elemental nature that gives it the potential to be so powerfully enlightening."

Lynn M. Herbert - Spirit and Light and the Immensity Within - 1998 

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