Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why Seeing Shouldn't Be Believing

Yesterday's images crudely demonstrated how just a little resolution enhancement can ruin one's enjoyment of erotica. Magnification can break down our typical experience of a virtual world by revealing the underlying absence of detail and complexity. Magnification can cut through our normal perception of the physical world by revealing almost infinite levels of detail and complexity.

This fun video by neuroscientist Al Seckel demonstrates some of the ways the mind interprets and misinterprets visual imagery.


Vidal Tripsa said...

Sorry, but I disagree. Your magnified image was far from erotica, as erotica is an art form which is intended to relate a sexual beauty from within its subject - a close up of some blotchy pubic skin doesn't fit with that at all. It could perhaps be considered pornographic, but then this is why I was at pains to praise you for a quite attractive nude photograph of yourself - to separate it. That was... actually, it was only faintly erotic. The covered nude seems to be a fairly common image to which many are desensitised now. But anyay, that's for art critics to chew on.

At the end of the day, erotica is pure fantasy. Pornography is a sort of explicit reality. So long as you consider pornography as a medium beyond that which we associate with adult video stores and paysites, all it does is present the viewer with a reality which fits their voyeuristic rules, while an erotic piece could never be recreated as anything but art. In your examples, the original image is enough because erotica leaves much to the imagination, and we fill in the gaps to a fantastical ideal.

I would guess that you're applying this to virtual worlds, in which case... it's like comparing a bed's 'pumping' poseball animations to a steamy role-play. If someone does enjoy the approximation of physical intercourse in our world, then that's fine but it's pornographic in comparison with the romance, which I personally favour.

Botgirl Questi said...

Vidal: Erotica/Porn was incidental to the ideas I was trying to communicate. The example could have just as easily been an appetizing image of a steak that is magnified to reveal multitudes of bacteria. And the reverse can be true; magnification might reveal hidden beauty, such as crystalline structures in a microscopic view.