Surrealist Plumbing

this is not a cat smoking a pipe


  1. Team meeting to better define our project problem statement/goals.
  2. Request access to the the Tobii eye tracking lab for project purposes.
  3. Read!

Sherry Berghefer, of the HCI department here at Iowa State gave a fascinating lecture on her research in hyperreality and our ability/inability to distinguish between completely computer-generated images, photographs with negligible to no manipulation, and heavily manipulated images. Her research focuses on visuals, communication, and psychology.

Hyperreality — “A condition in which what is real and what is fiction are blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins”

To some degree, even what we see with our own eyes is not “real,” but invented by our brains. She briefly covered how our eyes take in light waves, discard information, break up the rest and send it to our brains for reassembly.

Hyperreality relies on simulacra“representations that become more real than the actual objects they represent.”  Simulacra and realism have been around for ages (consider Renaissance paintings, early Silver Halide photo manipulation, etc.), and the conversation hearkens back to a few of my first art classes in college. Honestly, though, even photographs, paintings, etc. are not “real” situations. The object/image in it’s natural form seems like the easiest place to draw the line. I’ve never been satisfied with the current terms and definitions.

But which pipe is real?

Here’s an example of a 100% computer-generated ad, produced by The Mushroom Company:
Silestone — ‘Above Everything Else’ from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

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