Immaculate perceptions and reflections in Second Life

“There is no truth, there is only perception … immaculate perception,” Krystali Rabeni enigmatically states in her introduction to Immaculate Perception – Immaculate Reflection. “What you see is what you thought before you looked … The immaculate perception of it is an immaculate reflection of the viewer. A very interesting abstraction proving that there is no truth, only perception.”

It’s a provocative statement leading the way into a surreal and thought-provoking setting, one complete with touches of abstract and the absurd – but one which is also compelling, given the artist’s statement. Across a watery landscape sits a host of vignettes drawn from multiple sources. Pieces in some of them will be familiar to visitors, others will be wholly new.

All present some curious scenes: animals hanging from balloons, a pair of women in 50’s style clothing walking a pair of hot-dogs, skeletons watching TV, chess pieces from one side pinning the king from the other side under a net, a pat of flamingoes examining images of other flamingoes; pocket watches with starfish, the list goes on.

However, what is important here is not from whence they came or even, necessarily, what the artist may have intended each to represent – but how we perceive them, and how that perception may be informed by the shadows of our own thinking even before we see what is in front of us.  Of course, how we perceive and interpret any art is a matter of personal reflection, but it is generally a subconscious process; here we’re being asked to consciously think about that process – which in turn further influences our perceptions.

In this, the track of thinking can become recursive: we question whether or not how much of what we’re perceiving in one vignette is shaped by our prior thinking, and then as we move on,  how much of that thinking is influencing our perception of the next vignette we see, which in turn calls into question our perceptions of the next vignette, and so on. Thus observation becomes as much introverted act, as it does a consideration of the art itself.
Within the installation, the potential recursiveness of our thinking  is perhaps enhanced by how the various vignettes are  placed. It is almost impossible to observe one without seeing two or perhaps three others, thus shifting our attention, directly or subliminally, influencing our thinking on the piece at hand, and thus influencing our perception of it.

However, and with all that said, we can leave the deeper considerations about Immaculate Perception – Immaculate Reflection to one side, and simply approach each vignette entirely on its own. Each offers a scene captivating to the eye which can be enjoyed in its own right, regardless of what is informing our perception, whilst also allowing us to tease ourselves with possible allusions which may appear to be in some of them which might otherwise be missed in any deeper appreciation / introspection.

However you approach this installation, it offers plenty of opportunity for visual appreciation and / or considered speculation.

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