Developing Alternative Aesthetics for Artistic Expression in Experimental Stereoscopic 3D Films

Max Hattler


A number of contemporary moving image artists are exploring unique types of perceptual
illusions in stereoscopic filmmaking which stand in opposition to mainstream discourses of 3D
cinema. This research examines some of these alternative artistic potentialities of stereoscopic
moving images and discusses how artists experiment with various concepts and techniques to
expand or subvert normative stereoscopic vision. Their approaches are examined from an
aesthetic-perceptual viewpoint which aims to understand the resulting new perceptions and
aesthetics. This is supplemented by some technical production-related knowledge which
contrasts these alternative approaches and intentions with dominant stereoscopic forms. The
artists under review have brought to the audience ‘imagined things’ based on reality, and
impossible spaces that can only exist in what we term ‘expanded stereoscopy.’ They
problematize debates related to realism and perceptual illusion in numerous ways. Blake
Williams for example presents what he calls ‘fantasy’ in Prototype (2017), showing a diferent
kind of reality informed by the media archaeology of certain stereoscopic media, which avoids
and transcends the conventional practice of cinema to ‘re-present’ reality. Instead of the
traditionally assumed passive role of audiences proposed by the psychoanalytical approach in
film studies, the studied works turn viewers into more active spectators, engaging them in
unconventional ways while expanding their senses and sensations. The study delineates various
examples of expanded stereoscopic moving image works which show an emergent aesthetics
of new forms of artistic practice and set a foundation for the future of experimental 3D
cinematic art.


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