Charles Wisseman, Mixed Media Artist



Mind's eye box

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM

This box got a bit out of hand:

Artist statement-- Mind’s eye view box

Constructed March-April, 2013 by Charles Wisseman

Structure is an outer box with an inner panel folded up inside.

The outer box is a functional pinhole view camera. There are two film holders, which can be loaded with orthographic film or photo paper. The front covers of the film holders are pulled down through a slot in the lower rear edge of the box for exposure. Film holders are stored within side compartments of the box, along with photo paper cutting template (about 5x 5.5 inches), Black light-proof plastic bag for extra paper, and a second light-proof bag for transporting loaded film carriers. Exposure is made through a small pinhole in the front. About 1.5 minutes in full sun made a good exposure on RC photo paper.

The box is also a camera obscura, using a larger pinhole for brighter image, but lower sharpness. A black hood cloth attaches to a wooden insert which attaches to the rear after folding down a panel to reveal a frosted mylar screen onto which the image projects. This image is inverted and negative with deep depth of focus. The two pinholes can be changed by a slider in front. The pinhole is behind a ceramic eye orifice with my hand imprint on the surrounding surface. A handle screws into the base for stabilization during portable viewing. This can also accept a tripod mount for stable photography during the long exposures needed for photos.

On the fold-down rear panel is an image of a round clay object from the Mississippian Native American culture, showing a Hand/eye form surrounded by snakes. The hand with eye in the palm is thought to represent a portal which souls must transit when Orion galaxy is above the horizon to reach the afterlife. Hand/eye forms on front and back of the box create a Janus-faced reference to looking forward to future and backwards to past.

The top of the box is a combination lock, made using a pattern found in “The Complete Boy Mechanic”, a compilation of old articles from Popular Mechanics. The combination is 42, which was my draft number in 1970, and also “the answer to life, the universe, and everything” in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Also Jackie Robinson’s number, I was recently told. This numerical code gives access to the mind/soul within.

The inner panel has nine panels which fold spirally into a cube. There are images on the front and back of each panel. This represents the mind contained within folded convolutions of the brain. The outer box is the eye, which gives access to the mind within. The panels refer to ways of classifying and understanding the world. Each item has a story for me--- fragments of past projects and ideas, materials from my parents, old found objects.

One side of the unfolded panel has references to the 3-D physical world:

Animal, mineral, vegetable, synthetic are represented by cast composites of bones, sticks, plastics, and stone in epoxy and concrete.

Air, water, fire, earth are represented by hurricane image with working humidity meter, snowflake image with bubble level and water molecule construction, stainless steel sheet with flame marks and working thermometer, old blueprint map of Afghan mountains with compass.

The center panel has periodic table of elements with atomic orbital/planetary image with BB’s rolling around to suggest electrons in a metallic element.


The other side of the unfolded panel has references to the time dimension, seasons, cycles, mathematical patterns in nature, celestial cycles

Golden ratio with nautilis image and cutoff base of a pinecone

Moon paper with birth control dispenser and yin-yang image

Spider web captured on handmade paper

Uroborus snake-ring cyclic image with cross-section of Osage orange

Clock face with working timer mechanism and target

Antique image of zodiac and the spheres of the universe and magnifying lens

Handmade paper casting a labyrinth with removable color wheel spinner

Forge-welded steel spiral with melted bronze, central rock art spiral image

The center of this side contains a small book form with references to the dual nature of man—male/female, brain right and left, Rorschach pattern, Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man . This central folded structure at the center of the brain is the soul of man--- unifying the one, the dual, and the many.





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