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Open Access Medialness and the Perception of Visual Art

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Medialness and the Perception of Visual Art

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In this article we explore the practical use of medialness informed by perception studies as a representation and processing layer for describing a class of works of visual art. Our focus is towards the description of 2D objects in visual art, such as found in drawings, paintings, calligraphy, graffiti writing, where approximate boundaries or lines delimit regions associated to recognizable objects or their constitutive parts. We motivate this exploration on the one hand by considering how ideas emerging from the visual arts, cartoon animation and general drawing practice point towards the likely importance of medialness in guiding the interaction of the traditionally trained artist with the artifact. On the other hand, we also consider recent studies and results in cognitive science which point in similar directions in emphasizing the likely importance of medialness, an extension of the abstract mathematical representation known as ‘medial axis’ or ‘Voronoi graphs’, as a core feature used by humans in perceiving shapes in static or dynamic scenarios.We illustrate the use of medialness in computations performed with finished artworks as well as artworks in the process of being created, modified, or evolved through iterations. Such computations may be used to guide an artificial arm in duplicating the human creative performance or used to study in greater depth the finished artworks. Our implementations represent a prototyping of such applications of computing to art analysis and creation and remain exploratory. Our method also provides a possible framework to compare similar artworks or to study iterations in the process of producing a final preferred depiction, as selected by the artist.

Affiliations: 1: Goldsmiths, University of London, UK ; 2: DynAikon Ltd., UK

10.1163/22134913-00002064
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In this article we explore the practical use of medialness informed by perception studies as a representation and processing layer for describing a class of works of visual art. Our focus is towards the description of 2D objects in visual art, such as found in drawings, paintings, calligraphy, graffiti writing, where approximate boundaries or lines delimit regions associated to recognizable objects or their constitutive parts. We motivate this exploration on the one hand by considering how ideas emerging from the visual arts, cartoon animation and general drawing practice point towards the likely importance of medialness in guiding the interaction of the traditionally trained artist with the artifact. On the other hand, we also consider recent studies and results in cognitive science which point in similar directions in emphasizing the likely importance of medialness, an extension of the abstract mathematical representation known as ‘medial axis’ or ‘Voronoi graphs’, as a core feature used by humans in perceiving shapes in static or dynamic scenarios.We illustrate the use of medialness in computations performed with finished artworks as well as artworks in the process of being created, modified, or evolved through iterations. Such computations may be used to guide an artificial arm in duplicating the human creative performance or used to study in greater depth the finished artworks. Our implementations represent a prototyping of such applications of computing to art analysis and creation and remain exploratory. Our method also provides a possible framework to compare similar artworks or to study iterations in the process of producing a final preferred depiction, as selected by the artist.

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