• Albertian Perspective and Augmented Reality: Lessons from Panofsky

      Summers, Alan; McGuirk, Tom; University of Chester (Glyndwr University, 2017-09-12)
      This paper addresses the ubiquity of Albertian perspective as the dominant paradigm in the production of certain diagrams. Panofsky recognized the cultural specificity of perspective as, “a systematic abstraction from the structure of … psychophysiological space.” He considered it essential to ask with regard to artistic periods, not only whether they have perspective, but also what kind of perspective they have. This paper asks a similar question with regard to the employment of such perspective in augmented reality technologies. In East Asian culture an alternative use of floating perspectives has developed, this is recognised by cultural psychologists as indicative of the different sensitivities to contextual information. Differences in the interpretation of the visual field between Western and East Asian subjects further call into question the universal application of Albertian and Cartesian models in the design of the diagrammatic environment. Augmented reality technologies are now capable of overlaying diagrammatic information directly upon the user’s visual field. Therefore the perspectival conventions of three-dimensional visualisation techniques might potentially come to reinforce Cartesian principles, and thereby be regarded as the unjustifiable imposition of a culturally specific worldview. This paper addresses the psychological, philosophical and indeed cultural ramifications of this phenomenon.