Field of Dreams © 2005 Aliyah Marr

Field of Dreams © 2005 Aliyah Marr 5x10' mural

There is a well-known phenomenon called “persistence of vision” that describes how films and videos create the illusion of motion.

This visual illusion was discovered when Eadweard Muybridge successfully photographed a horse using a series of 24 cameras in 1878. The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse’s, and each of the camera shutters was controlled by a trip wire which was triggered by the horse’s hooves. They were 21 inches apart to cover the 20 feet taken by the horse stride, taking pictures at one thousandth of a second. (Wikipedia, The History of Film)

A film is just a strip of still images. When it is run through a projector at 24 frames per second, the still images seem to move. The trick is in our minds, not in our eyes or even in the film or projector. Our mind has the ability to string together the still images into an illusion that fools our minds.

It’s amazing to me how the tools that we create can give us insight into perception and into the way our minds work. We can even examine the discoveries that they reveal to understand how we can change ourselves through art.

Reality is only in our minds. We are really just one step behind the pure experience of being alive.

Like a film that looks like it is moving only when run, our idea of ourselves is composed of static frames, moments in time, frozen ideas of ourselves that seem to have a reality and movement only because we believe in the illusion of our thoughts. Allow for the idea that your definition of yourself may not be a static thing, nor unchangeable, nor does it have to be the same from this moment to the next. Tomorrow, choose another image, another set of thoughts, run them through the projector of your mind, and change to please yourself. Use art to do it.

It’s the persistence of your vision, the quality of your images that creates another work of art, or another reality, which is just a dream made real. The illusion of movement and flow steps over the boundaries of time and space into the eternal now.

Copyright 2009 Aliyah Marr