A dream of perceptions & dimensions

The curiosity that inspired my work started with the notion of dreaming. I have asked myself many questions on the authenticity of our world: How can we be sure that the world we are living in is real? How can we know that everything we perceive is not just an illusion?

The way we interpret our environment combines different factors requiring collaboration between our eyes and our brain.  When we see an object, the light that reflects off of it is absorbed into our eyes and transformed into a message. This message is delivered to our brain and interpreted in order for us to understand what we see. But what if there was a problem with our visual system? What if there was an error in the process? Perhaps we visualize things completely differently than they really are.

The human perception of colors is trichromatic, meaning that the only colors we can see are blue, red and green and the other variations obtain by overlaying them with different intensities. This means that we, as humans, cannot see the infinity of colors that exists in our universe. So why do we trust our brain with the images it shows us? These are the questions awaiting answers when quantum physics emerged in the 20th century as a field of science dealing with the behavior of matter and energy on the smallest atomic scale. Many people say that in order to understand quantum physics, you have to throw all sense of logic out the window because it does not follow the same logic as our everyday surroundings. I guess I am right to question the human perception to try to find different answers to these questions. 


A book that helped me in my reflection on the subject was Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by the English schoolmaster Edwin A. Abbott. The novella, narrated by A. Square, explores different worlds such as Lineland, Flatland and Spaceland. Through these dimensional worlds occupied by geometric figures, it explores different perceptions with different dimensions. The story recounts the experiences of the main character living in Flatland. A. Square visits, through a dream, a one-dimensional world where he can only see a set of points on a line (LineLand) and he tries (and fails) to convince the monarch of the dimension that other dimensions exist.  A. Square is then visited by a three-dimensional sphere named A. Sphere and discovers that it is not just a circle but that a third dimension exists.  A. Square then decides to explore if there is a fourth dimension.

This story illustrates that there is no true or false, that everything depends on one’s perspective. It is true that we don’t know if a fourth dimension exists, and maybe to its’ inhabitants our world is surreal. I reflected a lot on the concept of what is real and what is surreal and it has inspired my work.  Many parts of our world consists of natural creations such as deserts, mountains, and oceans as well as man-made creations such as cities. I wanted to represent theses elements with another perspective, as if someone from another dimension was looking at them. I imagined that, through this other vision, the colors and shapes of these creations would be distorted.  I decided to layer the desert and the city, the ocean and the mountains, and to give the color a makeover which creates a dreamy unreal atmosphere. In order to stay true to my reference, I wanted to include in my work a geometric figure: a square acrylic box. This box can be seen in my threedimensional sculptures as well as in my two-dimensional picture collages. 

Images and Text by Jung Park
Edited by Tessa Mack 

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