Original: Double Vision (1971) by Peter Campus
Double Vision (1971), an early work by Peter Campus, establishes several concepts to be explored throughout his career, namely questions of the Self as self-identified and its existence in/relation to phenomenal space. Campus uses two cameras to generate the multiple images, dislocations, disorientations, twins, ghosts and mirrors in Double Vision, investigating the capacity of footage to both adopt and transcend identities as it acts as his own eye sometimes and in others, as a still viewer. The reverse holds true as well as Campus conflates himself with the camera eye, dissociating himself from his physiological body, watching himself move about the room, phasing through his own dopplegangers.
The video is framed by seven divisions, each labeled with a term related to the biological evolution of sight. Formally, the mimicry of each phase of eye development makes for a visually compelling choice, justified on its own. However, the conceptual dimension benefits from the narrative of development, the progress of ocular presentation suggesting action beyond the assumed passivity of perception. The eye perceives that which is created to be perceived and is itself created, through the doubled camera lens, to see and be seen.
QUADRUPLE VISION, after Double Vision
This project was originally conceived as Triple Vision; the only dimension to be added to Campus' original was the component of online or digital identity, which in 2011 is fundamentally entrenched in the fabric of our perceived selves but just 40 years prior did not exist to be considered. However, while breaking down the formal components of Double Vision, I found that the video crafts its meaning through the triad of phenomenal surroundings--
phenomenal body--neuminal identity and the crossovers between these transitive linkages. The phenomenal body exists because there is a phenomenal space in which to exist, and thus the space is as fundamental to abstract perceptions of self as the actual self-body is. Therefore, it isn't enough to simply introduce the idea that there exists a digital identity because it is entirely contingent upon the its digital surroundings. If "double vision" is to the self and its surroundings, then "quadruple vision" is to phenomenal self - phenomenal surroundings - digital surroundings - digital self.
In its construction, my update follows Double Vision as closely as my jankyass videoediting allows. The concept of Quadruple Vision uses the setup conveniently created by Campus to demonstrate the parallel of digital self-digital space to physical self-physical space.
When I was young I made myself a prisoner of my room. It became a part of me, an extension of my being. I thought of the walls as my shell. The room as a container had some relationship to the imaginary space inside a monitor... -Peter Campus, conversation with Barbara Neirhoff, 2003 [source]
I overlayed the footage I took of myself moving through my physical surroundings with recordings of my computer/internet usage as the 1:1 environment:environment comparison. As for the perceived self, I settled on using facebook as the quintessential example of online existence, an identity crafted as the sum of its curated parts. Footage of my physical self is juxtaposed against my facebook profile page. In parts 3 and 6 of the video, when Campus in Double Vision doubles the footage to move as himself and as his double/reflection, I uploaded the raw footage to my facebook and screencasted the video as it played through the facebook interface as my double/reflection. Though the actions of the figure within the video are the same in both manifestations, the one available on facebook comes with all the implications of being seen and how being seen will contribute to the way my digital self as a sum of my facebook components will be perceived (a couple of people apparently already watched that raw footage on facebook; what conclusions did they draw from seeing me pace without explanation around my kitchen, conclusions that exist for my digital self first, and then for my phenomenal self next time I see my friends in person?). Because despite the distinction between digital identity and phenomenal identity, they are cyclically connected, just as the computer monitor as a space for the digital being exists in phenomenal space. I touch upon this cross-relationship in part 4 of Quadruple Vision where an EKG monitor of my heartrate is merged with my computer's CPU log. Also, the screencapture playing on my laptop in part 7 is of a page on Multiverse Theory - one theory details the existence of parallel universes due to the finite number of combinations of finite matter in infinite space, so the repetition of identity in surroundings.
Through the course of this project though, I came to realize that the idea of doubled existences can really only be problematized. I think I may have gone in with a bias - fake online bitches, bad, true essences and real people, good. But isn't identity a construct in every realm? In order to construct a self-perception, don't we have to acknowledge ourselves as objects to be perceived and defined (whether by self or by other, does it matter if ideas and language are constructs)? Our physical extension in our physical spaces is natural and haphazard in terms of mass, flesh, molecules - but anything in the abstract uses the phenomenal to ground itself but it is not phenomenal itself. Being something one is not- is that any more honest than what I construct by omission and commission on my profile page? Which is the eye, and which is preferable, if preferable is even something to question - the knowledge of Self through the outline created by the absence that is not your surroundings? Or the active creation of Self, though the eye that sees is then not in your socket but is seeing you?
Fun things that worked: I filmed half my footage with an iPad, which has a camera on both sides so you can toggle between seeing your own face and seeing what faces you, appropro i think.
Final Cut Pro
Screen Movie Recorder