The Perspective Unit began formally as part of the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto (1990).
The Unit then became part of the Maastricht McLuhan Institute (1998-2004). The unit collects materials on the history, theory and applications of perspective, projection methods and spatial concepts. It uses electronic media to explore new approaches to knowledge and education. It houses a standard database with definitions, bibliography (15,000 titles), slide collection (c.12,000 images), microfilms (150), videos and books.
Perspective involves time as well as space. Because it is integrally connected with both the rise of narrative and literacy, perspective offers important insights into the interdependence of western literature and art. Alternative methods in non-Western cultures (aspective, inverted perspective, axial perspective, parallel perspective) are also studied. Because it transforms depicted and real spaces, perspective demonstrates how construction and representation of the man-made world change the world of nature; how mastery of key spatial elements transforms the very concept of environment. Technical applications range from art, mathematics, cartography and astronomy to recent developments in holography, stereoscopy and virtual reality. Metaphorical applications include literature, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, sociology and anthropology.
A basic goal is to use electronic media to gather what is known on perspective in the form of a knowledge package which serves as a prototype for new approaches to knowledge in other fields. The System for Universal Media Searching (SUMS © 1992-2004) demo combines the format of a traditional book with databases for new multidimensional access to knowledge and information on perspective.
Articles and Reviews