Tuesday, 4 December 2012

picture-picture or ei-dee-o-lo, o-lo, o-lo

A few observant photographers captured some good chance occurrences of pareidolia and it made me wonder whether computer could see such thing, even were something designed for those ends, like a facial-recognition programme. Would Curiosity have picked out the Face on Mars—and either way, what does that say about us? The more I thought about the mind’s ability and need to bridge the gaps and summon up patterns or semblance, unmotivated, bidden or otherwise, I realize that there is a lot more than cuteness happening here when this and similar but unexpected configurations would impart the same exact thing to everybody.
The more I thought about it, I also realized that my digital camera does in fact sometimes alert me as having detected closed eyes when taking a picture of a statue or of a painting or the robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit who saw a butterfly in a coffee spill, however, those are not examples of the mind’s eye, apophenia, I think. It is very remarkable for something to have a subjective meaningfulness, and not just seeing a shape in the clouds but also in coincidence, clustering, shadows, synchronicity, a lucky-streak, that is still something that can be communicated and perpetuated, no matter how delicate or specious the connections.