High resolution imagery?

700 dpi screens, CCD cameras, multiconvolution algorithms now generate super high resolution images. This is very useful for facial recognition, image reconstruction like DNA or protein imaging, finding archeological sites under the Amazon forest, or for cryptography.

Generally, ultra sharp images evokes technology, if not sci-fi and futuristic icons. In paintings, sharp lines usually comes with high contrast, geometric figures and intense homogeneous colours: have a look at some of the work by Kandinsky or Roy Lichtenstein.

Although sharp lines and deep contrast are also present in Middle Age and Renaissance drawings, the used of blurry, smooth and only hinted lines might be more powerful to reproduce natural lightnings, shadows and movement, and to induce feelings. After all, seeing the world in ultra sharp resolution, all the time, is one autistic symptom.

Playing with gradients, blended colours and blurry contours can be used to suggest transparency, softness, to reproduce shadows, reflections in mirrors or on water, to capture movement and speed, pollution, and multitude.

Blurry lines, brush marks, thick drawing, are also great at conveying feelings and emotions, such as peacefulness, calm and tranquillity, serenity, religious passion or revelation. It can also hint at ephemerous stolen moments, voyeurism and forbidden glimpses. Smooth and blurry are traits of the dream and imaginary world.

Finally, playing with line’s sharpness, thickness and contrast are tools for painters to attract the spectator’s attention, to drag her into the painting and to control her travel into it.  The spectator is not static anymore but moves closer or further away from the painting, bends her head on one side, then on the other side. The more she looks at it, the more there are details to see and impressions to feel.

So far, these impressions, sensations and feelings are difficult to reproduce with super high resolution digital technologies.