Infinite Regression / by Daniel Buckley

This piece is a collaboration with Ceren Paydas for the 2013 Fresh Media show at The Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt.

Our work, a projection-mapped video sculpture, attempts to compare the states of gaze, oyeurism, and surveillance. In order to exhibit this relationship, we use three videos that, in succession, each take a step back from the subject of the work. The first video shows a nature scene, the second a subject observing the nature scene, with the third showing the artist, Ceren, observing the subject, observing the nature scene. The series of videos represent the law of Infinite Regression, popularized by the following quote in Escape from Planet of the Apes.

Now here is a painting of a landscape. Now the artist who painted that picture said that something was missing, what is it?

β€œIt is I myself, who was part of the landscape I painted.”

So he mentally takes a step back, or regresses, and paints a picture of the artist painting a picture of the landscape.

But still something is missing, that something is still his real self painting the second picture. So he regresses further, and paints a third, a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the landscape.

Now because something is still missing, he makes a fourth and a fifth - until he paints a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting the landscape.

-So, infinite regression is?

It is the moment when our artist has regressed to the point of infinity and he, himself, becomes apart of the landscape he painted, and is both the observer and the observed.

In addition to calibrating the projection mapping for the piece, I also modeled the Vacuum-formed projection surface. In order to understand the shape building towards, we began by building various models, while also testing different materials. While it may not be a long-term sustainable solution, wood served us well due to it's quick and cheap assembly, especially due to the fact that we really only needed to produce one mold.