Visual Alchemy

Maria Chiara Fagioli

The possible declinations of the photographic concept arise

Cinema, in its essence photography in motion, offers many ideas for experimental research, and can embrace the abstract concept of use and meaning through colour, which in turn can synaesthetically affect physiologically induced music.
At the base of the cinema development, there are visionaries, inventors and storytellers who, from the moving sequence of photographic images, have structured a highly technological and narrative language according to time and therefore in perspective of the evolution variables. Much of the technique results to be manual, as well as was hand colouring films in the early colour cinema, while the intellectual contribution has been the stimulus to the investigation and interrogation of possible realities. Understanding the era and the reactions to novelties is also tracing the boundaries of a medium, which can then be disregarded from time to time. The manual colour applied as it was done in the late-19th century before the invention of colour photography, was understood as an approach that did not conform to the values of cinema aesthetics and its intrinsic realism. In fact, Kinemacolor and Technicolor were the first successful colour photographic processes. Nowadays, digital software, like Lightroom and mostly Photoshop, have reduced the clear distinction of the photographic medium, expanding the initial vision of reality and mixing other techniques such as watercolour. Photography meets fantasy, provoking new mixed media concepts, especially in the fashion industry and in the editorial.


© Craig Mc Dean, Vogue Italia, 2008, Mixed media photography


However, the Myth of Total Cinema seems to be affected by the doctrine of the faithful and realistic reproduction of what the eye of our eye sees in everyday life, mechanically projecting matter and movement. Exactly the dynamic evolution loses the perceived subject based on a more detached narrative dialectic. The photographic anthropocentrism is subverted, according to variables of use and a more sophisticated and structured sense, expressing the visible as macros, like the solar galaxy. The film director is only the creator of the Big Bang, always assuming is the Great Beginning, the one from which the whole chain reaction starts, leading to the cosmological model of the constituted universe. There is no longer a thesis and its opposite, but a current that shapes tendencies and disciplines a collective experience, ultimately producing the film.
The search for transcendental knowledge has made synaesthetic studies possible across various media. Oskar Fischinger, through his optical poems during the Second World War, managed to significantly connect Franz Liszt’s music to paper in stop motion, in Technicolor. Harmonised chromatic circles that vibrate and move visually, and drag the viewer towards dynamic and abstract rhythms, intend to reproduce the sound. Previously the neurologist J. Leonard Corning, had written on the effects of chromatic vibrations and music, which can influence the observed patients until hallucinatory forms, bringing consequent emotions.
The artistic and modernist attempts to interpret the medium can be defined as a vernacular approach to matter, not in the derogatory sense, but as an act of profound research and otherness. The nature of the medium is studied in a given historical period, offering reflections on cinema as an extension of other existing and possible means. So, the enchanted images of the Phantoscope pictures projected, become wonder and curiosity, an end in itself and the boundary of the device, which is why the experimenter plays and explores new languages, future new mechanisms. The underlying logic is the amused enjoyment of performance and personal culture, such as the use of Jenkins’ applied iconography. A standard of reading and understanding is possible thanks to literacy. The colour dynamics are taken for non-fictional uses, public communication and advertising, with the purpose of guiding the viewer emotionally.

By developing contexts that influence the subconscious, colour consciousness broadens the spectrum of the social and educational function of cinema. Thus, our experience in the world explores our inner interests in occult desires, up to the spirituality obtained by Kandinsky’s musical metamorphosis and senses. And perhaps this is the greatest critical and aesthetic challenge of the moving image.
Visual becomes silent, silent becomes sound.


© Maria Chiara Fagioli, AR experience – Edea, 2017, Video

Notes: Augmented reality enhances experiences. I used the photographs of the Edea portfolio to enrich the reality of the printed book. The images in motion, allow an alternative key to the use and meaning of picture, exploring techniques and languages. The spectator is involved in this abstract rhythm of mixed media concepts.


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