Perspective in Perspective

The Perspective Research Centre (PRC) is a research and educational centre focused on the visual dimensions of Art, Science and Culture.

PRC collects materials on the history, theory, and applications of Technical Perspective, projection methods, and spatial concepts. We provide free and open access to perspective resources; for the benefit of all.

Perspective is a relatively new method that is a key to understanding major categories of art/science/technology in the past 500 years. Related topics include space, time, optics, human eye/vision, colour, drawing and mathematics (geometry), reality, illusion, imagination, and representation.

Perspective is central to developments in various subjects; including art, photography, television, cinema, scenography, engineering, architecture, gardens and environment, etc. Recent developments also have strong links to perspective; such as hypermedia, geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), virtual reality (VR), computer graphics (CG), computer-generated imagery (CGI), stereography, panoramas, holograms and space imagery.

In sum, perspective lies at the epicentre of progress and is pivotal to everything humans will achieve in the future. QED.

Our Mission 

The PRC seeks rational insight into the various technical methods, plus practical applications, of perspective, and associated visual media.

A basic goal is to gather what is known on perspective in the form of a library, museum, encyclopedia, plus comprehensive bibliography of perspective as developed in Western cultures. Alternative methods in non-Western cultures—aspective, inverted, axial, curvilinear, and parallel perspectives—are also studied.

The PRC is researching new types of perspective. For example, we are developing designs for multi-perspectival media, a visual encyclopedia, and ways to expand the field, scope, and clarity of human vision. 

By collecting, developing, linking, and applying the theories, principles, and methods of perspective, the PRC can support knowledge organisation, education, and technology development across a range of scientific, artistic, cultural, and environmental disciplines.

Dimensions of Perspective 

Perspective is a foundation of human imaginative and creative potentials.

Perspective involves time as well as space. Because it is integrally connected with the rise of narrative and literacy, perspective offers essential insights into the interdependence of western literature and art. Because it transforms depicted and real spaces, perspective demonstrates how construction and representation of the human-made world change the world of nature; how mastery of key spatial elements transforms the very concept of environment.

Perspective draws attention to the distinction between subject and object; and inspired a fascination with views, which split into two different directions. 

One movement was towards realism, leading to topographical views, geometrical and architectural drawings—hence accurate dimensional measurement. A key part of this path was that persons began to approach the same objects systematically from different viewpoints and on different scales. Accordingly, perspective can be seen as a quest for certification of sightmeasurement, and representation, whereby we make accurate views, maps, and models. In this manner, we develop and test our theories of the real world.

The second movement led to panoramic, distorted, imaginative, and illusionistic spaces. Ergo, perspective enabled a whole range of new images, including regular solids, semi-regular solids, lutes, chairs, stairs, complex plays of shadow and reflections, grotesques and caryatids, imaginary gardens, fountains, idealised ruins, panoramas, and phantasy architecture. 

Finally, perspective ideas have been central to creating photographic, film, and television media, plus hypermedia and the Internet. In sum, perspective has profoundly shaped all aspects of modern art/science/culture.

Library,  Encyclopedia, and Bibliography

The PRC curates an extensive collection of unique and world-leading materials on perspective and related subjects.

Established over 50 years, is our vast Library On Perspective, consisting of 5,500 physical volumes, 4,000 digital books, hundreds of articles/papers/theses/treatises, 33,000 digital images, and 12,000 slide images. Plus, we own a rare 500 volume library on Leonardo da Vinci, including one-of-a-kind manuscripts cataloging and explaining his scientific methodology in full.

Today the PRC library is unsurpassed in the private field, and in the future, we shall continue collecting new materials on perspective. The library aims to collect all specialised literature in the field(s) of perspective, projection methods, spatial concepts, and vision.

PRC maintains the official archive of Professor Kim Veltman’s lifetime publications. This incredible knowledge bank consists of several million words spread across 300 publications, including 20 books; 3 major treatises; 82 chapters in books; 24 papers in refereed journals; 84 articles, 16 reviews, and 10 vision statements. Plus, we hold extensive records, including design plans and full patent details, on Kim’s visionary System for Universal Multimedia Searching (SUMS).

PRC maintains the standard World Bibliographic Database On Perspective; initially developed by Professor Luigi Vagnetti and later progressed by Professor Kim Veltman—who together spent over 90 years compiling a list of 15,000 perspective titles from throughout time.

In 2020, PRC published the Encyclopedia of Perspective (2,500 pages), the definitive work on its subject matter that is a wonder to behold. Plus, we plan to publish the Encyclopedia of Leonardo Da Vinci (3000 pages), which unites all of Kim Veltman’s writings on the great polymath. 

All of these resources will be freely available herein.

Museum 

We are building a Museum of Perspective; being a collection of early perspective instruments and related visual methods. 

The museum includes historical records of direct viewing instruments such as lenses, mirrors, windows, the perspective window and box, camera obscura and lucidia, optical illusions, panoramas, early stereoscopes, holograms, and Virtual Reality (VR) systems, etc. Also held are timeline details of the history of image capture and viewing instruments, including various types of cameras, telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, etc. 

The museum details the history of measuring instruments used for copying, mapping, modelling, and calculating aspects of spatial reality. For example, we collect early examples of the ruler, caliper, protractor, gauge, dial, slide rule, nautical slide rule, pantograph, planisphere, etc. Plus, we have extensive records of geographic/planetary/star map(s), sundials, and various kinds of compass (trigonometry, sector, and reduction).

Next, we collect details—and early examples—of all kinds of projection instruments,  for example, the zoetrope, kinetoscope, magic lantern, slide and film projector, etc. Finally, we do not neglect human vision, the eye and visual perception; we collect details of early vision theories, models, and related images.

Overall, the Museum of Perspective works in tandem with our vast Library of Perspective, plus our unique collection of over 33,000 perspective images, to gather everything known on perspective, vision, and related spatial topics.

We are busy cataloging and publishing our Gallery of Perspective; being a vast collection of perspective-related images collected over 30 years. The gallery consists of 33,000 images of all types, including drawings, paintings, photographs, microfilms, slides, films, stereograms, holograms, etc.

There are plans to develop a categorical approach to perspective views, images, models, and measurements, combined with a grammar of key spatial shapes linked with digitised images to create a new visual encyclopedia of knowledge.

Overall, the task of publishing the Gallery of Perspective, is considerable. Accordingly, we shall publish specific parts of the gallery as time allows.

PRC studies universal order of knowledge across all disciplines.

PRC has been fortunate to acquire the library of Professor Ingetraut Dahlberg (1927-2017)—a world-renowned expert on knowledge organisation.

Dr Dahlberg strongly recommended that Knowledge Organisation be anchored in universities as a discipline of its own under “Science of Science”. She deplored the tremendous dispersion of knowledge in our times and its corresponding non-connectivity, isolation, and hence opaqueness. Her views were only magnified by what she saw as the unfulfilled potential of digital information systems.

But how is knowledge organisation linked to perspective?

In 1967, Karl Popper developed his Three Worlds Theory as a way of looking at reality. The concept involves three interacting worlds, and accordingly, we have three classes of perspective. Firstly Technical Perspective (visual aspects of the physical world), and secondly Mental Perspective (conceptual aspects of nature/culture), plus finally Knowledge Perspective (knowledge aspects surrounding works of art, science and culture). 

At the PRC, we focus on Technical Perspective. However, we also study Knowledge Organisation, including its philosophical background, classification methodology, universal and special systems, indexing, and terminology.

Latest Activity 

We are busy publishing and making Kim Veltman’s work freely available.

The goal of making Kim’s work available to all will take some time to achieve. And because Kim’s 3 major treatises alone—consist of over 7000 pages—namely Kim’s treatise(s) on Leonardo da Vinci, the Encyclopaedia of Perspective (the sources, literature, and bibliography of perspective), and the history of the alphabet (Alphabets of Life book).

Plus, we are cataloguing, organising and shelving our vast library on perspective and related topics, developing a new theory of Technical Perspective, and publishing seminal concepts, theories, research books, and papers on perspective.

We are also developing a lecture series entitled: ‘Dimensions of Perspective’; and producing a related book and documentary film. 

Everything at the PRC is developing at a fast pace. Stay tuned in!



LATEST NEWS  -- < PRC website under construction > --

We are currently working hard to get the first version of the PRC website finished. We aim to finish by January 2022.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions.

I appreciate your patience.

Alan Radley -- 22.11.21 --


Dr Alan Radley FRSA | Scientific Director
e: alansradley@gmail.com

Perspective Research Centre
www.perspectiveresearchcentre.com