'Binding' which I think is working out what objects are which, and 'Combination' which is about creating the matrix-like world-view which our little homunculus sits inside while riding the body around.
All of this started because I like Louise Sugdens painting style and because I like Dazzle Patterns on ships, and so I began a small investigation into colour, in particular, into colour and mass/shape...
After all, it’s only trying to understand how colour works, and how that combines with our sensation and understanding of mass.. how hard can it be?
Answer - INFINITELY HARD, for the very question opens the doorway to a crystalline dungeon of PRISMATIC MYSTERIES.
The search has taken me through Neurobiology (We Know It When We See It by Richard Masland), Ship Camouflage in WWI (Dazzle - disguise and disruption in war and art by James Taylor), and a deep cut into colour as used by artists (Interaction of Colour by Josef Albers).
We can also possibly add 'Through the Language Glass' by Guy Deushter, about a mild Sapier-Whorff effect in language and colour.
|Alllbeeerrrs! HES LOOKING RIGHT AT ME|
IS COLOUR THE MOST RELATIVE SENSE?
or just the most obviously relative?
So many scientists, art teachers, philosophers, messing around with coloured thread, coloured sheets of paper, swatches of colour, showing them to people of different nations, in classrooms, in laboratories, to rabbits while a hole has been drilled in their skulls to let the electrodes in, sailing around looking for rare islanders so you can show them the colours and write down what they say. More flags, shining lights, patterns of shade and texture.
Albers would remind us that our understanding of all these colours is massively shaped by context, types of light, (electric, dawn, dusk, passing clouds, albedo), by the arrangement of colours around and within each other, one colour on another, next to another, torn edges, straight edges, curly shapes, blocky shapes, texture on flat and so on and so on, so that he might regard these neurologists and cultural analysts running around as quite mad and pointless.
ALBERS - The most curious and unique of the minds I have witnessed through text. A man with the very tight, intense, highly disciplined brain of a laboratory scientist, a careful, systematic and procedural method to his teaching (learning about colour is *not about self-expression!*). And yet, with the least scientific aim and probably the greatest scepticism towards the systematising, totalising goal of science.
Albers is learning and teaching his students, through the medium of relentless attention and careful systematic analysis, about something he believes is very, very, highly relative. Fluid within perception and within the mind, to the extent that considering colour outside of its context, as an isolated quality, I think to him that would be utterly insane, since that is something it can never be.
Is it really the most relative of sensations? I think probably it is not, but that it is the most *observably relative* because it comes to us always alongside shape, objects and *DIVIDING LINES*, and I think the secret to the perceived relativity of colour is not that it is more relative than touch, smell or sound, but that it is more relative than objects and lines.
The mind is Binding and Combining the shapes of objects and dividing lines between things ("edge detection") all the time, and however it is doing this (we still don't really know), it seems to me that shapes, objects and lines are a lot less relative and debatable (both within the mind and beyond it) than the colours which always are sensed with and alongside them.
We might not all be seeing the same colours, and we can be certain, that in different lights and different times of day, things which register as always having the same colour in our minds, in fact have quite different colours, and that our brain is clearly fudging the issue, but *in comparison* to colour, we can be much more certain that the lines, shapes and objects we perceive, are both coherent to themselves and coherent when discussed and compared between individuals.
"That big rock, is it more yellow or green would you say?"
and never (ok, rarely)
"That big yellow-green thing, rock or sponge, would you say?"
And it is this, the evidently-relative-relativity, if you will excuse an awful phrase, which makes colour more obviously relative than sound or touch, because it lives along side and is always contrasted with, shape and line, which is very much less relative (probably more dominant, earlier maybe, in the binding & combining process).
|Neurons! How do they work!|
IS THE BLUE I SEE THE SAME AS YOURS
It’s likely. If it’s not exactly the same it’s probably pretty similar, unless you are at the far end of the curve, and most crucially, as Albers would tell you, IT DOESN'T MATTER!
For colour is RELATIVE and exists only relative to its context and therefore all that truly matters is if what you see as blue has the same relative relation to what you see as red green etc as everyone else which it probably does (though maybe not entirely).
COLOUR AND TIME, VISION AND TIME
While I know nothing about any of this I know even less about this part so beware, but it seems to me that vision and in particular the binding and combining of colour and form, and many colours, gives us access to a kind of island of no-time within our own minds.
As Albers would tell us, and here I'll bring in Ian McGilchrist of "The Master and His Emissary", sound is sequential, it can only happen in a row of information (though different sounds can be combined at the same time), touch is a bit less sequential, you can tough something with different bits of yourself, or be touched at once. Movement has a 'moment of movement' but is quite largely sequential, it happens in a row but vision, and the sensing of colour and shape, am I wrong in thinking that it has the least sequential elements?
McGilchrist would say that one part of the mind senses and 'sees' everything in one big burst and the other scans and sequentialises, so maybe sight, vision, has the most complex experience of time within the mind.
When I imagine the binding/combining process, I imagine something with a 'loose moment', a kind of drifting, or indistinct sense of the 'now'. The mind sees, absorbs, identifies, arranges and understands, all happening together. The big blurt of information from the all-at-once scan, the rapid sequential object scanning, the binding and combining shape colour, shade, light, fluid integration and re-integration with the imagined and re-constructed mind-state, both what 'just happened' (the part that makes us think the rabbit is still inside the hat) and the 'about to happen' (that lets tennis stars work out where the ball is *going to be*, all of this, binding and combining, looping and feeding back, continually, whenever our eyes are open.
And so, within the mechanisms of vision are many mutual but simultaneous *perceptions of time*. sequential, global, memory looking back and imagination/modelling looking forward, all happening "at once". The experience of vision is like a kind of time machine, a timeless, or looped moment within ourselves, which we can dip into and experience, slightly, a more or less time-powered moment, variations on what 'now' is.
WHY DO I GET A GIDDY FEELING WHEN PRESSING AGAINST THE EDGES OF THE IDEA?
Perhaps this presentiment of the complex nature of consciousness, vision, time, self awareness, is why when I reach certain points of Albers book, Maslands book and McGilchrists, I get a kind of giddy feeling. That feeling when you are just on the borders of a great idea, the moment before something complex, difficult and indistinct synthesises inside your mind into a coherent whole.
This might just be the borders of my own stupidity.
Or am I pressing against the edge of REALITY ITSELF????
|More Albers, you and your GODDAMN SQUARES JOSEF|
AM I SMART ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THIS STUFF?
Probably not really no.
Masland is pop-sci and at the deeper end I struggle.
Albers, god damn fucking Germanic Albers. First its a book of experiments really, that you are meant to perform, and I didn't. Didn't have the right stuff, time or will. And second he writes in this bloody art-school Germanic hyper-clear style, which because it is hyper clear and has only the correct info in it
is fucking hard to get through. There is no pulse of info/blather for you brain to take a moment to recombine, instead its infoinfoinfoinfo.
Its one of the most interesting books on colour that I have ever read, but again, I found it a struggle, especially towards the end. There were effects and ideas that I found it hard to perceive, model and consider, and so I ended up somewhat, sweeping over the words in a fearful rush. Back in secondary school maths again! fuck!
|Ian McGilchrist being a WEIRD DUDE|
COLOUR AND MASS, SHADE, SHINE, BRIGHTNESS AGGGHHHHHHH!
God fucking damn it brain, why you have to be so complex. All I wanted to understand was colour and mass.
Well, good news. Brain works out what shape and mass things are about 20 different ways at once. Edge detection and memory probably the most simple, though they exist at different ends of the binding/combining process (probably, we don't really know, and as I theorised above, 'different ends' likely doesn't make much sense in a temporarily fluid process with massive feedback loops).
Other ways - shade, light, texture, gleam, RELATIVE COLOUR. whoop de fucking do, all these things are changing massively, continually, always, depending on light, weather, perceptions, environment, background, movement between objects , movement WITHIN an object (which way will the Zebra jump - dunno as bunching muscles all fucked up by those dang stripes), and everything else.
False weathering patterns on 40k minis, showing you illusory mass one way, comic book style highlights on minis showing you mass another way, fake metal gleams in the non-metallic metal process showing you shape of imaginary metal, Blanchitsu style with decay and deep shadows, and the pale and nacreous skin which is good at showing those gothic shadows, showing you mass another way.
All somehow dealing with mass, or the delusion of mass, enhancing and re-creating the sense of 'shape' using false or simulated miniaturisations of aspects of the real(er) large scale world.
AND ALL DIFFERENT!!!
Especially when considered as different painting techniques, as in you literally need to do and think about a lot of stuff differently to employ each one.
Camouflage probably provides the key to entry to this subject but I have only read one book on it - stuff on 'Dazzle' (which seems like it didn't actually work, looked fucking cool though - raised morale, that counts!
But there are even different techniques and ideas behind kinds of camouflage. Camo for invisibility
for disruption of shape, of movement, counter-shading seems to have been invented, or re-invented by camo people (and oddly enough that is the exact opposite of a mini technique called zenithal highlighting).
Looking into the way camo destroys the understanding of mass and shape as a method for understanding how the eye and mind create and perceive mass and shape seems like a good idea.
More on this later perhaps.
SIMULATION THEORY IS FUCKING DISGUSTING
|Don't blame Muse for this|
Gotta do a brief postscript in Patricks Schizophrenia Hour.
As a result of looking into this I now hate Simulation Theory even more than I did before, whic was a lot.
It’s the ultimate narcissistic , ressentiment-based conspiracy theory, except instead of being focused on governments and social systems its focused on ALL OF REALITY
It’s also clearly theology, and bad theology at that. Investigation of the detail and subtlety of the human sensing, binding and combining process and its integration into consciousness, means that believing in simulation theory means that whatever is running the simulation both carefully and exactingly created the illusion of a hyper-complex system which evolved over bazillions of years to sense and inhabit a very particular complex eco-system AND left clues behind for the enlightened to see that thhis was all made up. Just like the God of Abraham leaving dinosaur bones behind as a test of faith.
It is a vile doctrine of superiority, the product of alienation, narcissism and a high IQ.