I’ve always been intrigued by the attempt to visually express what is in our minds. Dreams are a particuarly fascinating aspect of this. The imagery is exceedingly difficult to capture not only because much of what we dream makes little sense on the surface, but also because our mind’s manifestations are deeply layered. Recently, in a quest to find imagery associated with dreams, I’ve learned that neosurrealism is the study of trying to recreate dreams in art.
Consider this video called Doxology. Be patient with it and consider your own dreams as you observe the clarity of some scenes in contrast to the apparent nonsensical randomness of certain details. About two thirds of the way through the video, the creator toys with an otpical illusion with which a certain repetetive motion gives the impression of constant rotation- the illusion is identifiable, but your mind is tweeked by the intended effect (much like a dream). Combined with great editing effects, these “flyovers” create a very dream like view in that the scenes are familiar, but the details are too fuzzy to either make sense of the scene or to clearly lock in your position relative to what your seeing. This kind of depth simply cannot be recreated on two dimensional media.
A movie that made incredible attempts to recreate the mind’s canvass is The Cell. It received very mixed reviews on its imagery and all the negative reviews I read were because folks simply didn’t get it. The Cell, however, seeks to uncover the darker corners of what we subconsciously create (by diving into the mind of a sociopathic killer). It certainly did not go as far as it could have, but kept the imagery relatively mild so as to appeal to a broader audience and not be mislabled as simply a voyeuristic exercise in sadism.
The movie Mirror Mask also takes a decent crack at expressing the subconscious, but on a somewhat more juvenile level.
I will continue to study neosurrealism and see what more I can gather as far as videos or imagery and an understanding of technique. In the mean time, check out this computer-animated video called Doll Face. I can’t say for sure that it qualifies as neosurrealism, but the departure from reality along with the exquisitely matched sound effects makes for at least an entertaining social message.