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Publication Detail
Cinema, Illusionism and Imaginative Perception
  • Publication Type:
    Chapter
  • Authors:
    Cammack J
  • Publisher:
    Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Publication date:
    12/2007
  • Place of publication:
    Cambridge
  • Pagination:
    279, 291
  • Edition:
    1st
  • Editors:
    Horstkotte S,Leonhard K
  • ISBN-13:
    9781847183743
  • Status:
    Published
  • Book title:
    Seeing Perception
  • Language:
    English
  • Number of volumes:
    1
  • Keywords:
    optical illusion, uncertainty, film viewing
Abstract
The experience of film viewing is the experience of interacting with a highly plausible – but illusory – onscreen reality. Within this complex illusory encounter, the perception of an optically ambiguous image - that is, visual information which is not readily resolvable into a single, reliable interpretation - provokes a state of uncertainty in the viewer, a state in which their perceptual experience of the cinematic moment can be more readily influenced. As a filmmaker whose practice is rooted in a narrative tradition, the focus of my personal interest is in the capacity of the medium to prompt and engage with our intuitive, pre-understanding of the (filmic) world, understanding which circulates around the more focused, language-based knowledge of plot or character, hovering somewhere between the known and the not (yet) known. This defocused, background knowledge and its potential transformation into explicit, ‘certain’, conceptual knowledge through a refocusing of attention, a shift in intentional focus and/or processes of the imagination, has some correspondence with the interplay between sensory-based information and conceptual knowledge identified by Richard Gregory (1997) in the perception of optical illusions. Such devices may therefore offer a useful access point for an investigation into the mechanisms by which ambiguous filmic moments elicit their effect since by deceiving the visual system, optical illusions expose the spectator to the experience of their own uncertainty and thus to the influence of their imagination and a heightened awareness of the processes of perception.
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