Philip earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (with a health emphasis) from Yeshiva University. His research focuses on the application of socio-cultural psychology and field theory to the study of social phenomenon, in particular adolescent sexuality and psychotherapy.

Joneiloritz is a PhD student in the Film & Media department at the University of Pittsburgh.

David is a PhD candidate in the English Department at The University of Chicago. He works wherever it is that ethics, literature, and moral psychology converge.

Mutual Occlusion

In the field of computer vision and image processing, mutual occlusion refers to the “segmentation”, in the same image, of real and virtual elements — often in real-time, through an immersive display, and in certain instances inconspicuously.

The uses for the technique, commercial or otherwise, are as diverse as they are innovative. In biomedical imaging it is used to parse noisy video sequences and to segment relevant image regions (as in MRI); in the design of see-through displays, it layers and inter-weaves real and virtual environments; and in surveillance systems it is used to track pedestrians by refining the image and separating-out objects, shadows, and faces (as in the photo above).

In each case, however, the process involves a tedious integration, or separation, of different ontological orders, and for that reason we find it a poetic metaphor for all sorts of cultural, cognitive, and aesthetic phenomena. (This should also explain why we have chosen an image of the moon, the very symbol of occlusion, as our banner image.)


The header image is a cropped detail of a lunar map from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Research Program on mapping the Moon. The maps, which  show the geological composition of the lunar surface, are based on data from lunar missions in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and are available to download here. As information aesthetics puts it, “the contrasting colors & seemingly random shapes of the clusters of craters transform normally boring looking informational maps in[to] objects of visual art.” Generator.X compares their composition to the work of Joshua Davis — for instance his light box images for OFFF.

Thanks are also owed to V. J. Catkick for her sleek, minimalist Tumblr Recent Photos widget; to Jess Planck for his wonderfully designed WP Super Edit plugin that incorporates Word editing functions into the WP post editor; to Josh Kenzer for his fast-loading user-friendly Tumblr bookmarklet-inspired WP Quickpost plugin; to Pedro Lamas for his now-standard, visually pleasing jQuery Lightbox plugin; to Steve Smith for hisFeedBurner FeedSmith plugin that makes RSS subscriptions so much easier to manage; to Vladimir Prelovac for his Smart Youtube plugin; to Otto for his simple but essential PHP Code Widget; to Weston Ruter of Shepherd Interactive for his Co-Authors plug-in, without which collaboration would simply be impossible; and finally to Glenn Slaven for his invaluableFriendFeed Comments plugin.

Also, general thanks to A List Apart and their unrivaled clarity in the murky world of online CSS tips and tutorials, and to Lorelle on WordPress for her having encountered and solved any and every WordPress related problem or question I could come up with; to my web host, Laughing Squid and their technical support staff (whom I’ve luckily only had to call on once); and to the Disqus commenting system, which beat out, after much research and consultation, Intense Debate (though we anxiously await FriendFeed integration).

And last but not least, thank you to my LTP Erin, whose taste, brutal honesty, and supposed non-colorblindness now extend from home to homepage. Without her judgment, this blog would look a whole lot uglier.