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Transcendental Imaging

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Transcendental imaging is a phrase coined by the artist Peter Stott (born Burnley 1962) in relation to a pictorial theory of an artificial imagination and also human cognition introduced as 'Transcendental Imaging and Augmented reality' in an academic paper published in a journal of speculative research entitled Technoetic Arts.[1] This was based on a theoretical model of picturing described in a patent application for an artificial imagination registered at the UK Patent Office in 2006 and published in 2007. This was later included in Hans Ulrich Obrist and e-flux's 'Agency of Unrealized Projects'(see link).

The phrase refers to an initial description of the pictorial condition and its matrix based on the rules of perspective where he states that 'a square has the capacity to represent a 3D object via isomorphic projection', the transcendental aspect being all the possible form representations outside of ordinary cognitive access. The article expands that basic pictorial geometric fact in terms of how it might be applied to the whole of image culture where the base condition is the 2D data field subject to the geometric rules of perspective.

In December 2018 the artist further clarified the principle pictorial rule of his theory of 'transcendental imaging' as follows:

Via perspectival projection a 2D data field made up of one or more 2D shapes may represent (portray) isomorphic architectonic form whether depictions of real or imaginary 3D objects where a single 2D shape or a conglomerate of 2D shapes may depict a single object or a detail of a single object or a number of objects or a detail of a number of objects and that any isomorphic architectonic form representations projected from any 2D shape in a 2D data field may entirely share or not share or share intermittent spatial coordinates isomorphic edgewise with an isomorphic architectonic form representation projected from an adjacent 2D shape and that said rules may be applied in whatever combination to any 2D data field and that any inference of spatial orientation that may facilitate isomorphic architectonic form representation beyond an apparent Cartesian extrusion of forwards or backwards is here categorized as pictorial only and not proof of any actual existence of anything beyond three dimensions.

This was amended on 22.09.2019.

Further pictorial rules was added in 2020 to form 'Stott's theorem of the pictorial condition.

The above illustration of transcendental imaging theory, exposes the 'impossible trident' illusion as a combination of 2D shapes that have the capacity to be 3D form representations owing to the geometric properties of perspective. As such the image represents unseen architectonic form that the viewer might have an intellectual comprehension of, if not an actual physical one. The illusion represents a door of perception, the transcendental imaging theory suggests a way to open that door to reveal imagery presently beyond ordinary access, owing to the general human condition where one sees the appearance of things rather than what other objects the visual data might represent.

Further more detailed explanations are available in both the article 'Transcendental Imaging and Augmented Reality' (see reference and link) and also the theoretical model of an artificial imagination. (see link)


  1. ‘Transcendental Imaging and Augmented Reality’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research 9:1, pp. 49-64, doi: 10.1386/tear.9.1.49_1

External links[edit]

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