THE PONDEROUS SHIFTS OF PROFESSOR W
SAMUEL D. KINGSLEY
A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF FINE ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Copyright 2010 Samuel D. Kingsley
First and foremost, I would like to thank my wonderful wife, Lindsay, for all her
help and support through these past three years. I would also like to thank my parents
for their moral as well as financial support.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOW LEDGMENTS ................................. .......... 3
LIST O F FIG U RE S ...................................... .............5..
A B S T R A C T ............. ................... ........................... . ............ 6
1. IN TR O D U C TIO N ................................... ........... 8
2 P A S T W O R K ..................................................................... 10
3 T H E W O R K ............................................................. ........... 13
4 IN FLU EN CE S ........................................................ .. ........... 18
5. C O N C L U SIO N ............... .............. .. ......... ........... .... 21
LIST O F REFEREN CE S .............. ......... ...... ................. ........... 22
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ......... ... ............... ..............23
F IG U R E S ............... ......... ...... ................ .......... ........... 2 4
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 Sean and Stephanie................... .... ....................................... 24
2-2 H indsight B attles the Future......................................................... ....24
2-3 Sacrificing Their Souls for the Music........... ........................ ............25
2 -4 A G ath erin g ...... .. ......... .......... ..................... ................. ..... .... 2 5
2-5 A G gathering ............ .. ...................... ............. 25
3-1 The Ponderous Shifts of Prof. W ................................. ......... 26
3-2 Hand Held Aether Ray Emitter .................. .................................... 26
3-3 Das Veltgebaud................. .................................. ............ 27
3-4 D ada Siegt........................................................................ ... 27
3-5 Luminiferous Aether Experiment Three........................ ............... 27
3-6 Wave Particle Duality .......................................... ............ 28
3-7 The Generator................... .................. .................. ......... 28
3-8 Decapitated Viewer........... .............................. ............... 29
3-9 Reaching View er................................................................... 29
Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts
THE PONDEROUS SHIFTS OF PROF. W
Samuel D. Kingsley
Chair: Wesley Kline
It has been said that one looks at a painting but looks into a photograph. The
clarity of the photograph and its association with truthful representation has allowed the
viewer to comfortably and effortlessly perceive the photographic image as a space with
three-dimensional (3D) qualities. My project was about perceived realities and the light
photons required to confirm those realities. The viewer transforms the 2D image surface
into the original 3D qualities of the photographed space as if looking through a window.
The focus of my work was the active use of imagination to juxtapose dimensional spaces
while viewing a photograph.
In my photographs and installation I explored the phenomena of merging
dimensional views by using anaglyphic prints (also known as 3D images) and a model
room lit with blue and red lights installed behind a gallery wall. Images depicting light
experiments were flattened by separating the red and cyan color layers, creating an
image that appears to have depth, but prevents the viewer's gaze from looking into the
photograph. Using 3D glasses, the viewer's gaze is able to enter into the photographic
space as if truly looking through a window. Much like viewing the photographs, to
experience the installation, the viewer's head must physically pass through an opening
in the flat wall to perceive the model room mimicking the anaglyphic prints. By giving the
viewer the ability to physically switch between 2D and 3D views, I hope to reveal the
inherent process involved when looking at a photograph and for viewers to understand
their experience of an alternate reality.
When viewers approach a photograph, they perceive a flat, framed piece of paper
depicting an image encased in glass hanging on the wall; the frame and the glass
produce the illusion of a window pane. As viewers come close enough to see the
framed image, the frame is forgotten and they look past the glass and past the surface
of the photograph and look into the printed image. Classical lines of perspective that
lead to a vanishing point confirm the representation of space and time within the
image.1 The same visual tactics are used in painting and drawing to give images a
sense of depth, a sense of reality; but only the photograph can provide reality. The
photograph is a certificate of existence,2 and it is through this identity as a document
of truth that the viewer generates what I am calling the dimensional shift--wherein the
true effect of the photograph causes the viewer to perceive two dimensional space as
three dimensional and the depictions in the photograph as "real."
In The Ponderous Shifts ofProf W I explored the photograph's ability
to exist as a flat surface portraying three-dimensional properties and the requirement
of the viewer's imagination to produce this dimensional shift. Through the use of
anaglyphic photographs depicting the experimentation of light, a diorama behind the
gallery wall lit with blue and red light bulbs, and 3-D glasses, I sought to reveal the
viewer's inadvertent confusion of dimensions.
According to Vilem Flusser, author of Towards a Philosophy ofPhotography, "...
the specific ability to abstract surfaces out of space and time and project them back
SRosalind Krauss, The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge: October Books, 1994) p. 213
2 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc., 1981) p.87
into space and time is known as 'imagination.'" With this in mind, it is
understandable for viewers to be unaware of this complex task of using their
imagination to force their way into the image and produce a synthetic reality.
Through decades of classical conditioning (thanks to advertisements, cinema,
photojournalism or even television), the viewer has come to automatically view the
photographic image as another form of reality. If one were to ask viewers what they
saw when looking at a photograph, they would likely describe the scene or object
depicted in the photograph.3 This use of imagination that transforms implied space
into real space fascinates me. This is what I call dimensional shift: the viewer's
ability to shift a two-dimensional object into a three-dimensional one. Additionally, it
is the creation or the reveal of a hidden reality that is the raison d'etre of my work.
3 Vilem Flusser, Towards a Philosophy oJ Plhotgrcaphd (London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2000) p. 41
Under the umbrella of hidden reality I specifically explored aspects of
photography: time, the personal experience, and perception. In the series of
photographs titled Chrononauts (2008) [2-1], I sought to reveal an overlooked form
of "time travel." Through one long exposure, I recorded the entire sleep cycle of
friends and family. While they only experienced falling asleep at one hour and
waking up at another, the camera recorded the entire time that had passed. In
Hindsight Battles the Future (2008) [2-2], I experimented with time as an object. I
created time sculptures by throwing objects into the air while leaving the shutter open
and exposing them with a strobe light. What resulted were objects that were
interacting with themselves and working with the other objects to make a time
sculpture. I also explored the concept of the moment by recording entire acts, like
writing on a wall or inflating a sumo suit, with one long exposure. The images
created resembled my older memories: the broad information was there (where), but
the details were blurry (who and when). By leaving the shutter open, I intended to
alter the visual representation of reality and show how I would appear to an observer
existing in another time line.
A common strategy of mine was to try to force the viewer to see from my point of
perception of the world. The photograph alone was not adequate to convey this
message. The disjunction in translation was due to my inability to switch from a
spatial solution to a visual one. To remedy this, I made installations in the language
of photography. Instead of photographing a constructed scene and expecting viewers
to enter the scene with their imagination, I presented the constructed scene for them
to physically experience. I used, and still use, sensorial experience as a way to
connect the viewer to the work. I have found that when a viewer is required to
interact with a work, through touch or even a change of body position, the physical
exchange between the viewer and the work creates a familiarity and helps the viewer
respond to the work.
The first "photospace" was Sacrificing Their Souls for the Music (2009) [2-3]; a
large dark room lit by three wall-sized projections depicting slowed-down close-up
videos of lit light bulbs crashing into the ground then bursting into flame. The audio
was slowed down to the point where the bouncing glass sounded like the deep tones
of mourning bells. In the middle of the room, light bulbs were hung precariously
with twine; and below were the broken and scattered remains of the bulbs used in the
Inspiration for Sacrificing Their Souls for the Music (2009) came from a specific
scene in the novel Jonathan Strange andMr. Norell.4 This book tells the story of two
magicians and is written as an alternate historical account of the Napoleonic Era. The
author describes the hallucinations experienced by Jonathan Strange after casting a
spell: specifically, a scene where Jonathan Strange perceives human beings walking
around with hollow porcelain heads, lit internally by candles. Jonathan Strange
wonders what might happen if one were to extinguish the candles, which in turn
causes him to suffer from an intense paranoia of someone blowing out his own
candle. For me, the candle represented the soul and I wanted to depict the person who
would blow out the candles (or, in keeping with our modern sensibilities, light bulbs).
4 Susanna Clarke, Jonathon Strange andMr. Norell. Macmillan, 2006
Using spectacle and illusion inspired by the phantasmagoria,5 the dulcet tones acted
as a lure drawing the viewer in, and once inside, the crunch of broken glass underfoot,
the violent explosions, and the bulbs dangling helplessly in the middle were intended
to make viewers briefly forget they were in a gallery space.
The abrasive setting of Sacrificing Their Souls for the Music (2009) kept the
viewer from spending time with the installation. A Gathering (2009) [2-4], invited
the viewer to relax and lie down on blankets and gaze at the stars. This installation
comprised blankets spread out underneath a screen suspended high into the air. At
the center of the blankets was a digital projector, projecting what appears to be a clear
night sky. When viewed through (provided) binoculars, the viewer sees that the
projection is not the sky at all, but white specks of dust and hair. The projected
images are four blank 4x5 negatives that were left out for a week around my house
and then digitally scanned. My wife and I produced the collections of dust and
particles as we went about our daily routines at home. The projection was meant to
create a direct comparison between dust and the universe, giving the viewer a
different vantage point of the cosmos. When viewed with binoculars, the dust
becomes larger than the stars, and the viewer's experience becomes purely visual.
The binoculars concentrate the viewer's vision, separating the spectacle from its
surroundings and the viewers' sight from their bodies; allowing viewers the ability to
choose how to experience the installation.
5 "The systematic concealing and mystification of the processes of production." Jonathon Cray, suspensions
ofPerception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture. The MIT Press, 1999.
The Ponderous Shifts of Prof W [3-11, consists of eight 20x24 inch
anaglyphic prints, which can be viewed with or without 3-D glasses, a 4x8 foot wall
installed in the corner of the gallery housed a diorama that was only visible through a
hole cut in the wall. The diorama was 30x10x10 inches and made of wood, one-inch
tiles, pegboard, Plexiglas, black cloth, and red and blue light bulbs. The photographs
were taken with a Holga Stereo camera using medium format film that was digitally
scanned and printed onto inkjet paper. The Stereo camera consists of two lenses, one
for each eye. Merging the two images and turning the left-eye image red and the
right-eye image cyan created the anaglyphic image. When wearing the 3-D glasses,
the right eye only sees cyan and the left eye only sees red, causing images to appear
to advance and recede.6
The photographs depict Prof W experimenting with light in an attempt to
discover luminiferous aether, a substance known to transform the properties of light
[3-2]. These properties include wave/particle duality, after images, luminiferous
aether, refraction, and light pressure. I chose light as the subject of the experiments
not only because of its major importance in photography and its ability to produce
optical illusions, but also for its dual existence in both wave and particle forms.8 The
ability to measure light in two different forms requires the use of specialized optical
6 Arthur W. Judge Sterescopic Photography (Read Books, 2007) p. 213
7 Like the 410 MHz 420 MHz frequency range used for mind control, Prof. W seeks to discover
the specific wavelength/particle ratio required to emit a luminiferous aether beam. This beam would be
used for space travel and refined for military purposes.
8 "By the wave/particle duality of quantum mechanics, light can be regarded as both a wave and a particle."
Light does exist as waves, but waves are not affected by gravity, so it must also exist as particles as well.
Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time (I ic~. York: Bantam Books, 1996) p.83
instruments. With those optical instruments in mind, I used 3-D glasses and The
Generator as my own optical instruments to reveal the dimensional shift that occurs
when viewing a photograph. As stated earlier, the dimensional shift is the viewer's
ability to shift a two-dimensional photograph into a three-dimensional object. I
regard this act as primarily involuntary as a result of the passive viewer.9 Without
using 3-D glasses, the viewer is prevented from passively shifting the dimensions.
This visual barrier is created by the red/cyan separation inherent in anaglyphic
images, which flattens the picture, preventing the viewer from accessing the
photographic qualities needed to perceive dimensional space. Without the 3-D
glasses, the color separation adds a graphic quality to the images like in Laszlo
Moholy-Nagy's photomontage, Das Veltgebaud [3-3], and makes the objects appear
separated from the background as can be seen in Raoul Hausmann's Dada Siegt [3-4].
In his article, Definition ofPhotomontage, Hausmann states that the visual power of
the photomontage comes from "[its] contrast of structure and dimension, rough
against smooth, aerial photograph against close-up, perspective against flat surface
..."1 By separating the figures and objects from their backgrounds, Hausmann and
Moholy-Nagy were able reduce the photograph to its original two-dimensional form.
The false space between the flattened objects gave the photomontage a sense of the
diorama; two-dimensional objects arranged in a three-dimensional space.
When the viewer dons the 3-D glasses, the photograph shifts from the flat,
impenetrable image depicting light experiments into a phantasmagoric appearance of
9The passive viewer is someone who sees an image, but does not focus their full attention on what they are
observing; they have no intentionality in how they perceive the photograph. This lack of intentionality
causes the dimensional shift.
10 Hans Richter Dada: Art andAnti-art (H.N. Abrams, 1970) p. 116
three-dimensional objects existing in space. But the illusion is not perfect. "The
relation of the observer to the object is not one of identity but an experience of
disjunct or divergent images.""1 The viewer cannot passively gaze at the 3-D image,
but must actively search the image and view specific objects or areas for the full 3-D
effect. This is because the anaglyph is a fixed stereo-image.12 Unlike the eyes'
ability to focus on near and far objects, the anaglyphic image has a fixed point of
focus, making specific objects and the space they are located in appear three-
dimensional, but causing the other objects to hover as if unattached to the image.
This artifact of the anaglyphic image requires viewers to actively enter the depths of
the image through their imagination.13
The viewers bring this illusory experience with them when they approach The
Generator [3-7]. As with the photographs, the viewer must go beyond the flat surface
to view the installation. Once the viewers place their head through the wall they
immediately hear a low rumble. They look down, as if through the waist viewfinder
of a medium format camera, and see a diorama of the experiment room in the
photographs. The diorama is behind a framed sheet of Plexiglas and lit with blue and
red light bulbs, further linking the diorama to the photographs. The vibrant magenta
created by the shift of the blue and red light bulbs gives a sense of false reality. The
low rumble enhances this effect by giving life to the diorama, as if the diorama were a
dimensional machine. Remembering the illusionary effect of the anaglyphic images,
viewers cannot trust their sight and must rely on touch to verify what is being viewed.
" Jonathan Crary Techniques of the Observer (Cambridge: October Books, 1990) p. 121
12 Two almost identical photographs, one for the right eye the other for the left eye, that have been merged
to recreate the original dimensional properties of the photographed scene.
13 Rosalind Krauss The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Myths (Cambridge: The MIT Press,
1985) p. 138
Several people were seen doing this [3-9], and the numerous fingerprints on the
Plexiglas confirm that they were not alone in their uncertainty, for "...the sense of
touch had been an integral part of classical theories of vision in the seventeenth and
The Generator is meant to reproduce the disorienting effects associated with the
stereoviewer. It also mimics the camera obscura and monocular vision associated
with the camera. The use of apparatuses to view images in their true dimensional
form occurred shortly after the invention of photography in the 19th century.15 The
stereoscope, a binocular device, was used to look at stereoscopic images, which were
cards that showed separate exposures for the left and right eye. To view the
stereoscopic image, viewers had to hold the device directly in front of their eyes,
essentially severing their sight from their body [3-8.16 I designed The Generator to
recreate the severing effect of the stereoscope. The physical constraints imposed onto
the viewer while using The Generator gave the physical appearance of the head
severed from the body. By restraining viewers to a fixed viewpoint and a fixed
distance from the diorama, viewers are not able to verify what they are looking at,
creating a doubt in their minds as to the authenticity of the experience.17
The precursor to the stereoscope was the diorama, a monocular device "based on
the incorporation of an immobile observer into a mechanical apparatus and a
14 Crary Techniques... p. 19
15 Izabel Galliera StereoVision: The Skin and The Form (Tampa: USF Contemporary Art Museum, 2007) p.
16 Crary Techniques... p. 129
1 "Since the spectacle's job is to cause a world that is no longer directly perceptible to be seen via different
specialized mediations, it is inevitable that it should elevate the human sense of sight to the special place
once occupied by touch; the most abstract of the senses, and the most easily deceived, sight is naturally the
most readily adaptable to present-day society's generalized abstraction." Guy Debord The Society of the
Spectacle (Detroit: Black and Red, 1970) Sec. 18
subjection to a redesigned temporal unfolding of optical experience."18 Unlike the
stereoscopic image, the diorama relied on the traditional forms of trompe l'oeil: the
exaggeration of scale, linear perspective, and dramatic lighting.
"8Crary Techniques... p. 112-113
It was during late nights in my studio that I came up with the character of Prof.
W I was trying to find a way to connect all these ideas of dimensional shift,
perception and light into one cohesive work. While working, I often listened to radio
sci-fi dramas like XMinus One (1955-1958) and The Fourth Tower ofInverness
(1972). These programs provided me with the perfect inspiration to create the
character of Prof W a mad man of science researching how he could turn
innocuous light into something both useful and deadly. As a man of science, Prof.
W studied chemistry, physics, and the old sciences of alchemy and
thaumaturgy. By using modern technology and quantum mechanics, Prof W
sought out ancient myths of powerful technologies, created machines that could defy
nature and time, and experimented with the theories of time travel and parallel
The genre of science fiction opened the world to a multitude of possibilities
concerning technology, natural phenomena, society, and metaphysics. Through the
context of science fiction, I want to remind viewers to pay attention to their
surroundings as they go through life. By looking through the 3-D glasses at The
Generator, and by filling Prof. W 's workspace with mundane objects, I wanted
to emphasize the viewer's use of vision and the possibility that their next-door
neighbor could be a mad scientist.
My work further recalls classic science fiction through the use of 3-D. The use of
anaglyph and the 3-D glasses recall 1950s sci-fi classics such as Robot Monster
(1953), It Came From Outer Space (1953), and Revenge of the Creature (1955).19
Interestingly, there appears to be a three-dimensional renaissance in the film
industry. Seventeen feature films will be released in 2010 that use 3-D. The highest
grossing film of 2009, Avatar, was featured in 3-D.20 Additionally, Hyundai released
the first three-dimensional television in 2008 (in Japan); and Samsung released their
version in the U.S. on April 1, 2010. Popular cable channels such as The Discovery
Channel and ESPN are planning to offer 3-D versions of their channels.21 The
commercial usage of 3-D is meant to be experienced as an enhancement to the
absorptive effect of the cinema. The darkened room, comfortable chair, surround
sound, and large projection screen were meant to keep the passive viewer stationary
and visually immersed in the film projected on the screen. The addition of 3-D
technology furthers the viewer's experience of absorption. I, on the other hand, am
using 3-D imagery as a tool to enhance viewers' awareness of what they are looking
at; turning them into active viewers. While wearing the 3-D glasses, it is hard for the
viewer to move around because of the disorienting effect of the 3-D image moving
with you. This requires the viewer to actively remove the glasses to maneuver around
and to put them back on when viewing the next image. The specific focal point in the
19 "List of 3-D Films" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of 3-D films. Date accessed April 4, 2010
20 i :.. Office Mojo" http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2009&p=.htm. Date accessed April 3,
21 "Discovery, ESPN to Launch 3D TV Channels" Computer World, Mobile and Wireless.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9143116/Discovery ESPN to launch 3D TV channels
Date accessed April 6, 2010.
anaglyph also requires the viewer to selectively look at different objects within the
image to see the full 3-D effect.
The use of a visual apparatus to create two separate experiences of the same
image or installation became a central strategy for my work. This dual experience
made me think about the photograph's existence as an object and as a direct
representation of real-world objects, which led me to the viewer's perception of the
photograph and strategies for revealing its existential obfuscation. I researched past
technologies from the 18th and 19th centuries that were used to create new sensorial
experiences, which ranged from the simple camera obscura and the lighting effects
used in the phantasmagoria to the more complex stereoscope and its derivative
binocular devices. Through a combination of traditional illusory devices and viewing
apparatuses, I sought to encourage the viewer to actively participate with my work
and I wanted to expose viewers to their ability to perceive the photograph as a
representation of reality and an object. Through my work, I hoped to make viewers
more aware of how they view the photograph, turning the viewer from a passive
observer of photography to an active participant. Through their ability to become an
active participants, I wanted viewers to be aware that what they observe in a
photograph isn't always what it is truly represented.
LIST OF REFERENCES
 Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc., 1981. p. 87
 Box Office Mojo (4/3/2010). 2009 Domestic Grosses. Retrieved from:
 Clarke, Susanna Jonathon Strange andMr. Norell. Macmillan, 2006. p. 594
 Crary, Jonathan Techniques of the Observer. Cambridge: October Books, 1990. p.
 Debord, Guy The Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red, 1970. Sec. 18
 Flusser, Vilem Towards a Philosophy ofPhotography. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.,
2000. p. 41
 Galliera, Izabel StereoVision: The .\ki and The Form. Tampa: USF Contemporary
Art Museum, 2007. p. 3
 Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time. New York, Bantam Books, 1996. p.83
 Judge, Arthur W. Sterescopic Photography. Read Books, 2007. p. 213
 Krauss, Rosalind. The Optical Unconscious. Cambridge: October Books, 1994. p.
 Krauss, Rosalind The Origin of the Avant-Garde and Other Myths. Cambridge: The
MIT Press, 1985. p. 138
 Niccolai, James (1/5/2010). Discovery, ESPN to Launch 3D TV Channels
Computerworld, Retrieved from:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9143116/Discovery ESPN to launch 3D TV
 Richter, Hans Dada: Art andAnti-art H.N. Abrams, 1970. p. 116
 List of 3-D Films. Retrieved from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of 3-D films.
Samuel D. Kingsley was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He attended
Bowling Green State University where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree
in 2006. Samuel graduated from the University of Florida in 2010 with a Master of
Fine Arts degree in creative photography.
Sean and Stephanie 29" x 29"
Inkjet Print 2008
Hindsight Battles the Future
29" x 29"
Inkjet Print 2008
.Su ritcl intg Their Souls for the Music, installation view
Projection, whole light bulbs, crushed light bulbs, twine, audio, 2009
A G,al..1. I ,I detail image
A G,al,. 1n installation view
Projection, suspended screen, blankets,
The Ponderous Shifts of Prof W Installation Views
Hand Held Aether Ray Emitter, 20" x 24"
Anaglyphic Inkjet Print 2010*
*In this image the Professor has miniaturized
his Aether Ray Emitter and is calibrating it in
preparation for a series of intensity tests.
64.9 x 49.2 cm
Photomechanical reproduction with
25 5/8 x 17 3/4"
Photomontage and collage with
watercolor on paper
Luminiferous Aether Experiment Three.
20" x 24" Anaglyphic Inkjet print 2010*
*Professor W is testing his
luminiferous aether beam. He seeks to
master the particle aspect of light in order
to find new weapon technologies or
possibly new modes ofspace travel. The
purpose of the ray emitter is to intensify
the particle aspect of light, turning it into a
Wave Particle Duality 20" x 24"
Anaglyphic Inkjet print, 2010*
*In this image, the Professor is trying to
fine-tune the Particle : Wave ratio to find
the specific proportion necessary to activate
the lumniferous aether.
Installation View 30" x 10" x 10"
Drywall, wood, one-inch tiles, pegboard, Plexiglas, blue and red light bulbs, black cloth.