Reflection 007 – Optical Unconscious & Perceptual experience

The camera is there to capture what is in front of it without the transformation/ translation by our brains, close to Nichols’ idea of “bracketed perception” which provides “information” before mediated/ comprehend by human (Nichols p.13).  Technology allows us to attain a unprocessed reality and widen our range of senses.

For me, there is another phase after the image is captured and edited, it happens when the moving image is being reviewed and discussed.  When looked at the videos, to perceive, it is the time when the brain works again, it “provides the translation service, organizing sensory impressions into patterns and then conferring meaning upon various kinds of patterns in order to construct a familiar, recognizable world.” (Nichols p.12)  And this is the time to discover something new – the things that might not be in the images visually, the things that are communicated unconsciously.

The rhythm and overlapping images in Out of Xanax delivered an unintended sense of unease and illusion, it gives a feeling of losing control and anxiety when things break down – the overlapping windows reminds me of a computer break-down the windows without control and fills the screen.

All the shots in Lullaby for the Insomniacs were taken in Tseung Kwan O, a place I lived in.  At night I am always surrounded by lights of other families, and my home contributes to the sea of rectangular lights floating above the ground.  The video presents the reality and essence of living in a crowded city through the combination of lights and fragments at night.

The change from rapid motion and sound to silence and slow motion at 01:50 after a short black out is like something one sees in a dream – without a specific context, frame by frame, the view is familiar but one cannot tell where it is.

Floating Box and Floating Island are still shots with limited motion, the videos are very bright that give an strange dreamy feeling.  Both videos were shot under the broad daylight in the Western district of Hong Kong, when installed in White Night, they deliver a contrast to the main projection (Out of Xanax and Lullaby for the Insomniacs).


Benjamin, W., & Arendt, H. (1969). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.  In Benjamin, W. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (pp. 217-252). New York: Schocken Books.

Flores, V. (n.d.). Critical dictionary of art, image, language and culture. Retrieved December 07, 2017, from

Nichols, B. (1981). Art and the perceptual process. In Nichols, B., Ideology and the image : Social representation in the cinema and other media (pp. 9-41). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Prouty, R. (2009, October 16). The Optical Unconscious. Retrieved December 07, 2017, from



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