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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerception
The Garden; 21st Century Amateur Film (Waliczky, Tamás), 1992

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Schilling's development remained a mere prototype. Nevertheless, these vision machines can be considered mental and technological predecessors of current virtual reality constructions. Here, a trend emerges from the previous technologically simulated representation of movement to the actual experience of movement in space. «The basic experience, decisive for the future of vision, that perception through an apparatus makes possible a new perception of space and time. … In classical vocabulary: illusory bodies move in illusionary spaces and can be driven by the beholder through the apparatuses. This is the basic concept of cyber-space.»[50]

But vision with the support of technological aids does not correspond to the usual impression of vision and has to be learned, as for example the mobile camera obscura shows. From looking through a simple optical device like a pair of glasses to the accelerated perspective of a train ride up through the representation of a zoom, in which the gaze gradually approaches a distant point, the interpretation of sensory impressions first has to be learned. This is especially true of technically produced vision, which


produces images that diverge from natural vision. Even what we experience as natural vision is not an inborn function, and like other fundamental skills, like walking or speaking, requires some practice. Already at an early stage of life, human beings thus learn to analyze sensory impressions and to interpret the information won from it—a decisive foundation for human orientation.

Since the mid-1980s, the almost unlimited manipulation of images has become possible by combining the computer with video technology. Video images can be produced divorced from external reality. In a simulated reality, thus the significance of familiar perceptive constants can dissolve, since they are tied to no physical laws, when variables like scale, spatial dimensions or colors can be arbitrarily manipulated.

Tamás Waliczky makes use of this in his computer animation «The Garden» (1992) to illustrate how perception is a learned ability. He designs a world that is hypothetically bound to the perspective of a child that still has to learn the interpretation of environmental information like distances and size relations. The viewer is thereby integrated into a

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