Transparency As A Theoretical Matter Of Perception

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Transparency (Literal vs. Phenomenal) Transparency is defined and understood by most people as “having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly”. The growth in production and development of technology resulted in a new understanding for transparency in architecture and art. The architects Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky believe that transparency is classified into two different types, literal and phenomenal, where one is the result of optical effects, while the other type is based on spatial effects that are translated in the subconscious mind. Classifying transparency into two different types allows a shift from understanding transparency as science, to comprehending transparency as a theoretical matter of perception. The categorization of transparency into two types helps people understand transparency as something beyond science and relate it to a speculative matter of observation. While both literal and phenomenal are understood as types of transparencies they preform completely differently. Literal transparency leaves nothing for the imagination of the viewer to see. The materials and pigments used in architecture or art to achieve this type of transparency are superimposed, and the forms are placed behind the transparent surface are clear to the viewer. Therefore, literal transparency is based strictly on the viewer sight, where the viewer is only using his eyes and emotions to read the project.
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