Perceptual Play: Optical Illusion Art as Radical Interface

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Monday 14 November 2011.

First published in 2008, this paper by Julian Oliver argues that artworks which use optical illusion create a type of interactivity by manipulating flaws in human peception to trigger belief mechanisms.

Here interactivity does not result from physically playing with a touchscreen or a joystick, but rather it “shifts the object of interaction from the corporeal into the perceptual”, locating an interface directly within our neurological processes.

In repeatedly attempting to register competing representations of reality, optical artists author a game within our perceptive faculties, whereby “the game – if one could call it that, is built around futile attemps to reach coherence”.


Copyright 2008 Julian Oliver.

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