The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

26.10.07- writing about perception [and making moulds]

Monday was spent reading about perception and starting to put down some words towards that section of the thesis.
I remember coming across the writings of Richard L Gregory FRS, the Emeritus Professor in the Department of Neuropsychology at Bristol University last year and was interested in his work on illusion, which he uses to further his investigations into how sensations are interpreted as perceptions. In looking for online definitions of perception I came across his website. It’s a valuable resource that allows readers to download all his research papers. What is particularly useful about Richard Gregory is that he is at the forefront of current research.
Philosophers since the Ancient Greeks have studied perception. Since that time the dominant theory has been ‘passive perception’ – whereby perception came predominantly from the interpretation of sensations, in a linear way. However, the theory of ‘active perception’, is gaining momentum. Richard Gregory states that perceptions are 90% or more stored knowledge governed by rules generated through experience as we grow up.
In other words, when I look at a container, my brain doesn’t have to rely on very much visual information, as it knows what to expect from the countless times it has previously encountered a container. It will contain something or have the ability to. As a potter who has made many thousands of ceramic containers my brain is taken up with the aesthetics and function of the object, rather than identifying it. But I suppose that is what most of us do to a greater or lesser extent.

On Friday some tests came through that are part of my attempt to disrupt this process. I have thrown a series of cylinders; one without a base, one with a cone instead of a flat base etc. each was decorated with one matt black surface and one black metallic shiny glazed surface. I am interested to see if the glazed surface appears to float or loose definition due to the reflections.

The other big project this week was the making of the mould of the torus 03 CNC milled model. When I arrived on Tuesday Stephan was already at work, so I helped him by mixing plaster. Later on he left me to make the top half, which seemed to go smoothly. The following day we separated the two halves but it wasn’t until the evening that I finally removed the model. The mould is a success, but now we have to work out how to slip cast from it. Before catching the train home on Friday I went to speak to Robin Levien who is involved with Ideal Standard, makers of sanitary ware. He was very welcoming, showing me around the workshop below the studio where the team makes highly skilled models from blue Styrofoam. Robin will contact the manager of the Middlewich factory to arrange for me to visit and discuss the casting of the piece. Ideally I need to make the visit before my French trip.