Calum Colvin - Natural Magick

Wednesday 21 June 2023

A free talk by the acclaimed artist for International Stereoscopy Day

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Wednesday 21 June 2023, 17:30 - 18:30
Tower Building

University of Dundee
Dundee DD1 4HN

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A free talk in the D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building by the acclaimed artist Professor Calum Colvin, Associate Dean at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

International Stereoscopy Day marks the anniversary of Charles Wheatstone’s lecture to the Royal Society on 21 June 1838 announcing his invention of the stereoscope. The instrument transformed both science and art. In science, depth perception could be investigated experimentally. In art, the almost synchronous invention of photography ushered in the era of stereoscopic photographs. Eleven years later, David Brewster devised a stereoscope using lenses, the first model of which was made in Dundee by George Lowden.

Brewster wrote a book on Natural Magic and this provides the title for Professor Colvin’s talk. He will show examples of his own stereoscopic art works that play on Wheatstone’s and Brewster’s contributions to the art and science of stereoscopic vision as well as the bitter personal rivalry between them. In addition to subtle stereoscopic portraits of Wheatstone and Brewster, visual references are made to these rivalries. Both visual artists and visual scientists are natural magicians but the rules by which they operate differ. Scientists rarefy and isolate phenomena to control them in the laboratory, whereas artists embrace complexity and manipulate phenomena intuitively. It is less common for artists to harness the instruments invented by scientists and yet this is precisely the approach adopted by Calum Colvin in Natural Magick, thereby bringing art and science into closer harmony.


Matthew Jarron


Event type Talk