Discrete Encoding
2019
FOST Gallery, Singapore

Curated by Khim Ong
Group exhibition featuring works by Bea Camacho, Donna Ong, Grace Tan and Savanhdary Vongpoothorn

Discrete Encoding Essay by Khim Ong


Humans have pondered over questions of perception for as long as they are conscious of their ability to see and in attempting to make intelligible their visual experience. Thinkers have long argued ideas of perceptual experiences, the relation between appearance and reality, how we can possibility gain knowledge of the world as perceived through the senses (assuming certainty as a requisite of knowing), to the extent of throwing doubts on the existence of a physical, external world. It is the indeterminacy of the senses that problems of perception arise and continues to fascinate.

How do we then capture visual impressions that are fleeting, subjective, contingent on the conditions at the moment of perceiving, and translate them into knowledge about the world and ourselves? Computer vision perhaps offers a way of understanding how visual perception works. Intended to automate the functions of the human visual system, computer vision is a scientific discipline that started in the late 1960s and is concerned with developing theoretical and algorithmic systems to obtain visual understanding through acquiring, processing and analysing visual data. Fields and shades of colour are analysed according to how they are organised, their scale-space, textual and through extraction of edges and lines. These encoded data replicate the visual field through which numerical, and other information can be obtained and serve as source information for further analyse and use, for instance, in related fields of artificial intelligence, information engineering, neurobiology, and so on. Such scientific model of acquiring data changes the way we comprehend the visual world, making them concrete, describable, and manipulatable.

But how then does visual perception translate into visual impression or experience? And how can artistic works apply scientific models of acquiring and analysing visual data (in other words “knowing” the world) to produce images and objects that attempt to capture the unintelligible part of experience? The exhibition, Discrete Encoding, brings together works that engages in a process of encoding visual information, in turn translating them into sensory data embedded in a system of cultural and linguistic signification. Here, systemic producing process and subjective reflection are co-presented in the final product of artistic imaginary.

 

Source: FOST Gallery

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Images courtesy of FOST Gallery / photography by Ng Wu Gang