Photo: Antti Ahonen
With the emerging technologies, that bring VR applications, such as Oculus Rift, at the disposal of consumers, there has been a revived interest in the archaeologies of stereoscopic imaging. My two stereoscopic installations Screen Memories (1994) and Sovitus (1995) explored the construction of embodied visual experience through stereoscopic photography.
But they also suggested a figurative connection between the discourses on stereoscopy and psychoanalysis. Sovitus (1995) took its starting point from Breuer’s remark on the similarities between the failed attempt to adjust two incompatible stereoscopic images into a coherent picture and hysterical symptoms, the experience to which daydreaming at needlework left women particularly prone.
One of the images in Screen Memories (1994) installation offers a view under a red skirt of a woman. In the Freudian psychoanalytic narrative, the image might be decoded as one of the primary scenes of loss. Yet, the stereoscopic experience appears to suggest something quite different: the pleasurable experience of a haptic space in which the eye may wander, pulling and tweaking the fleshy underside of the red dress.
In the context of the seminar discussion I suggested, that when these two historical examples of media archaeology are discussed, stereoscopy does not function as a mere tool for the construction of a spatial visual experience. Rather, the installations should be seen as two instantiations of artistic research, in which stereoscopy is investigated within a broader discursive and technological network. The installations can be seen to comment on their own historical and technical conditions.