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20 NOVEMBER 2009

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

"Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, –what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, –will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?"

(Plato)

Plato's Republic, book vii, 514a–c to 521a–e

[Plato's allegory about consciousness underpins Western philosophy. It also introduces a fundamental concept used by Christian theology to describe spiritual enlightenment.]

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TAGS

allegoryallegory of the caveauthenticitycavechainClassicalcognitive immersionconsciousnesscopy • divine enlightenment • enlightenment • hierarchyimmersionmarionettemetaphysicsmimesisPlatoprisonerpuppetrealismrepresentationshadow • spiritual perception • Theory of Forms • transcendencetruth

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 DECEMBER 2008

The Great Stalacpipe Organ: the worlds largest musical instrument

"Located deep in the Luray Caverns in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the worlds largest musical instrument.

Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres of the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when electronically tapped by rubber–tipped mallets.

This most unique, one–of–a–kind instrument was invented in 1954 by Mr. LeIand W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronic scientist at the Pentagon."

(oddmusic.com)

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TAGS

caveearth arteco artmusicmusical instrumentnaturalnaturepsychogeographyscale • sonic • soundsubterranean

CONTRIBUTOR

David Rogerson
30 DECEMBER 2003

Virtual Reality: Pre-digital Immersion Experiments

Oliver Grau (2003 Virtual Art)
Millstones – an incomplete history:

  • cir. 365BC Allegory of Plato's Cave: image projections of people, projected on a cave wall 'fools' spectators into believing that the images are actual people (http://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm).
  • 1894 – stereopticon: 16 slide projectors working in rapid succession, projecting circular pictures.
  • 1895 – Lumiere brothers – Arrivée d'un train en gare le Ciotat: the film causes viewers to rush for the door, believing that they were about to be run–down by the travelling train.
  • 1900 – Cinéorama (World Exhibition, Paris): 10 70mm film projects simultaneously, forming a connected 360 degree image.
  • 1900 – Cinéorama/mareorama (Le Tour du Monde, dioramas of colonies, panaramas of Madagascar and the Congo).
  • 1921 – Teleview: first 3–D film. The technique used red and green coloured projections that were separated–out by two–colour glasses worn by patrons.
  • 1939 – New York World Exhibition: Building the world of tomorrow (plans for new urban development). Futurama: Norman Bel Geddes – a scale–model of an American city in the 1960's.
  • Late 1930's – early 1960's – US. Vitarama/Cinerama: Fred Waller – used by the US air force to improve flight simulators but also screened commercially. The films were shot using three cameras and presented with stereoscopic sound.
  • 1947 – O Stereokino: Sergei M. Eisenstein – an essay stressing the synthesis of all art genres. Despite failing to offer any suggestions as to how to produce such an instrument, he believed that such a device would allow images to 'pour' from the screen into the film auditorium – stereo sound would be essential. The experience would immerse, capture, involve, and engulf the viewer.
  • 1960 – Stereoscopic television apparatus for individual use: Morton L. Heilig – patented 3–D TV using miniature TV screens a users glasses. Commercial application built
  • 1962 – called: Sensorama Simulator.
  • 1964 – Marshall McLuhan: appropriated the term symbiosis to describe the relations between humans and machines.
  • 1970 – Osaka World Exhibition: Pepsi–Cola pavilion presented a near synaesthetic experience using dry ice, interactive laser effects, stroboscopes, and music.
  • 1970's – 1980's – Omnimax: small immersive circular cinemas with spherical projection, extending the viewer's ambient viewing array to 160 degrees.
  • 1974 – film: Earthquake: Robson – included haptic sensations that shock cinema seats.
  • 1981 – Polyester: John Waters – including smells. The entrance ticket came with a card which cinemagoers rubbed during appropriate film sequences, releasing corresponding smells.
  • 1990's – 3–D IMAX (modern–day panorama): The movies take spectators to inaccessible, far–off foreign places.
  • 2000 – Hanover World Exhibition EXPO Planet m: Bertelsmann.

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TAGS

3-D TV • allegory of the caveambient • Auguste Lumiere • cave • cineorama • Eisenstein • futurama • Heilig • historyIMAXimmersionimmersive experiencelaser • Louis Lumiere • Lumiere Brothers • mareorama • new media art timeline • O stereokino • omnimax • pavilionPlato • Polyester • projection • stereopticon • stereoscopic • stroboscope • synaesthesia • teleview • timelinevirtual reality • vitarama • Waller • Waters • World Exhibition
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