robertogreco + sight   30

Is "Show Don't Tell" a Universal Truth or a Colonial Relic? | Literary Hub
"In his essay “The Storyteller” (1936), cultural critic Walter Benjamin mourns the death of oral and communal storytelling, taken over in modern history by the novel, the “birthplace of the solitary reader,” and information technology with a rise in capitalism. Yet, what Benjamin posits as the organic evolution of oral, communal practices of storytelling into modern modes of storytelling, consumed by a reader in “privacy,” is in fact, the understanding of a Western history of storytelling as a universal one. As Maggie Awadalla and Paul March-Russell suggest in the introduction to their anthology The Postcolonial Short Story (2012), many non-Western countries did not transition “organically” from oral to written storytelling with a rise in capitalism. For many formerly or currently colonized spaces like South Asia, Africa, Caribbean, American South and Native America, there has always existed a rich, vibrant tradition of oral storytelling, one that was marginalized, often violently, through an imposition of an allegedly modern, white Western language and culture. In their study, Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts (1998), Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin defend “orality” not as a cultural precondition that morphed into a more advanced written culture, but orality as a counterpart to writing, where both co-exist, complement and transform each other constantly. This coexistence of oral and written modes of storytelling continues to thrive in postcolonial spaces, including those of Asia and Africa.

In her now-canonical essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression” (1934), Zora Neale Hurston makes a strong case for the use of vernacular—especially dialect and rhythm—in Black writing. In his story collection, Creole Folktales (1988) and equally canonical co-authored essay, “In Praise of Creoleness” (1989), Patrick Chamoiseau offers a manifesto for Caribbean storytelling that aims to free itself of French colonial gaze by transforming Martinican-French literature through a militant use of Creole. And while not through cultural theories or essays, contemporary writers like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, Roxane Gay, Junot Díaz, and Edwidge Danticat, among others, bring a strong, self-conscious vernacular in their stories. Their fiction questions not only an allegedly mainstream Euro-American storytelling marked by narrative brevity and an economy of words, as lauded by Edgar Allan Poe, John Barth and Francine Prose in their critical writing, but also the dominance of visuality in many fiction writing workshops with their show-don’t-tell credo, bolstered by our cinematic and digital age with its preference for images over sounds."



"James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Sandra Cisneros, Gish Jen, Tiphanie Yanique, ZZ Packer, Rajesh Parameswaran—the list of contemporary writing affirming oral and aural alternatives over a sight-based focus of storytelling is long. And I haven’t even gotten started with poetry-in-color, including an aesthetic legacy of rhythm in writing spawned by Papa Césaire and the Négritude movement. What I’ve explored above is a brief sampler on a multifaceted use of orality that challenges the boundaries of a more standard Euro-American literary English with its emphasis on brevity, clarity, and good grammar. In playing persistently with language, sounds and syntax, multiethnic fiction does not shy away from “writing in scenes,” however, it does dethrone the reign of eyesight to stress the importance of other senses in fiction, and hearing in particular.

That said, the use of vernacular or dialect is far from unique to non-Western writers writing within or outside the West. Time and again, major writers across the world have challenged the status quo of a hegemonic language by using the vernacular in different ways. I’m thinking here of Shakespeare and Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s linguistic innovation within English and French respectively, and of pioneering poets like Kabir who used the vernacular in Bhakti poetry to challenge the rule of Sanskrit in medieval South Asian literature.

And yet, the examples of multiethnic fiction I’ve shared above have all been published in the last couple of decades, following complex literary and historic changes that include mid-20th century’s wave of decolonization that swept the “third world,” the Civil Rights Movement in the US, the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies in the American Academy, and the literary canon wars that followed. This recent, layered, global history has led to a higher visibility of non-white, non-Western voices in the Western metropolitan publication scenes of New York, London and Paris. The content within contemporary multiethnic fiction often talks of identity, home and displacement; they ask questions like who has power and voice and who gets marginalized or silenced, these ideas fleshed out obsessively in stories through plot, theme, form, language, or a combination.

Orality within fiction that is deliberately engaging with power dynamics between the West and non-West—as evident in the title of Rushdie’s story collection East, West—thus becomes more than just a stylistic device or virtuosity with craft. The shift in sensory focus within multiethnic fiction from images to sounds holds a mirror to our contemporary, complex literary history, guiding the reader further to ways in which these stories maybe constructed, read, or deconstructed. Orality here becomes a political stance, an ideological move reminding the reader over and again that what we consume as universal in story craft, literary history, or aesthetic taste is anything but universal."
orality  oraltradition  visual  via:vruba  2018  storytelling  walterbenjamin  culture  tradition  namratapoddar  globalsouth  maggieawadalla  paulmarch-russell  billashcroft  garethgriffiths  helentiffin  vernacular  zoranealehurston  creole  creoleness  folktales  writing  salmanrushdie  vikramchandra  junotdíaz  edwidgedanticat  edgarallanpoe  johnbarth  fancineprose  criticalwriting  howwewrite  literacy  multiliteracies  dialect  rhythm  patrickchamoiseau  caribbean  africa  asia  colonialism  english  alicewalker  imperialism  gishjen  jamesbaldwin  tonimorrison  tiphanieyanique  zzpacker  showdon'ttell  sandracisneros  roxanegay  ajeshparameswaran  négritude  papacésaire  haiti  aural  oral  sight  brevity  clarity  grammar  fiction  aimécésaire  martinique  léopoldsédarsenghor  léondamas  postcolonialism  louis-ferdinandceline  latinamerica  indigenous  canon 
november 2018 by robertogreco
Translations by Kathryn Nuernberger | Poetry Foundation
"I want to believe we can’t see anything
we don’t have a word for.

When I look out the window and say green, I mean sea green,
I mean moss green, I mean gray, I mean pale and also
electrically flecked with white and I mean green
in its damp way of glowing off a leaf.

Scheele’s green, the green of Renaissance painters,
is a sodium carbonate solution heated to ninety degrees
as arsenious oxide is stirred in. Sodium displaces copper,
resulting in a green precipitate that is sometimes used
as insecticide. When I say green I mean
a shiny green bug eating a yellow leaf.

Before synthetics, not every painter could afford a swathe
of blue. Shocking pink, aka neon, aka kinky pink,
wasn’t even on the market. I want to believe Andy Warhol
invented it in 1967 and ever since no one’s eyes
have been the same. There were sunsets before,
but without that hot shocking neon Marilyn, a desert sky
was just cataract smears. I want to believe this.

The pale green of lichen and half-finished leaves
filling my window is a palette very far from carnation
or bougainvillea, but to look out is to understand it is not,
is to understand what it is not. I stare out the window a lot.
Between the beginning and the end the leaves unfolded.
I looked out one morning and everything was unfamiliar
as if I was looking at the green you could only see
if you’d never known synthetic colors existed.

I’ve drawn into myself people say.
We understand, they say.

There are people who only have words for red
and black and white, and I wonder if they even see
the trees at the edge of the grass
or the green storms coming out of the west.
There are people who use the same word for green
and red and brown, and I wonder if red
seems so urgently bright pouring from the body
when there is no green for it to fall against.

In his treatise on color Wittgenstein asked,
“Can’t we imagine certain people
having a different geometry of colour than we do?”

I want to believe the eye doesn’t see green until it has a name,
because I don’t want anything to look the way it did before.

Van Gogh painted pink flowers, but the pink faded
and curators labeled the work “White Roses” by mistake.

The world in my window is a color the Greeks called chlorol.
When I learned the word I was newly pregnant
and the first pale lichens had just speckled the silver branches.
The pines and the lichens in the chill drizzle were glowing green
and a book in my lap said chlorol was one of the untranslatable
words. The vibrating glow pleased me then, as a finger
dipped in sugar pleased me then. I said the word aloud
for the baby to hear. Chlorol. I imagined the baby
could only see hot pink and crimson inside its tiny universe,
but if you can see what I’m seeing, the word for it
is chlorol. It’s one of the things you’ll like out here.

Nineteenth century critics mocked painters who cast shadows
in unexpected colors. After noticing green cypresses do drop red
shadows, Goethe chastised them. “The eye demands
completeness and seeks to eke out the colorific circle in itself.”
He tells of a trick of light that had him pacing a row of poppies
to see the flaming petals again and figure out why.

Over and over again Wittgenstein frets the problem of translucence.
Why is there no clear white?
He wants to see the world through white-tinted glasses,
but all he finds is mist.

At first I felt as if the baby had fallen away
like a blue shadow on the snow.

Then I felt like I killed the baby
in the way you can be thinking about something else
and drop a heavy platter by mistake.

Sometimes I feel like I was stupid
to have thought I was pregnant at all.

Color is an illusion, a response to the vibrating universe
of electrons. Light strikes a leaf and there’s an explosion
where it lands. When colors change, electromagnetic fields
are colliding. The wind is not the only thing moving the trees.

Once when I went into those woods I saw a single hot pink orchid
on the hillside and I had to keep reminding myself not to
tell the baby about the beautiful small things I was seeing.
So, hot pink has been here forever and I don’t even care
about that color or how Andy Warhol showed me an orchid.
I hate pink. It makes my eyes burn."
vi:datatellign  poetry  names  naming  colors  words  green  kathrynnuernberger  wittgenstein  goethe  vangogh  andywarhol  illusion  vision  sight  seeing  pink  color  eyes 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Wiley: The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses, 3rd Edition - Juhani Pallasmaa
"First published in 1996, The Eyes of the Skin has become a classic of architectural theory. It asks the far-reaching question why, when there are five senses, has one single sense – sight – become so predominant in architectural culture and design? With the ascendancy of the digital and the all-pervasive use of the image electronically, it is a subject that has become all the more pressing and topical since the first edition’s publication in the mid-1990s. Juhani Pallasmaa argues that the suppression of the other four sensory realms has led to the overall impoverishment of our built environment, often diminishing the emphasis on the spatial experience of a building and architecture’s ability to inspire, engage and be wholly life enhancing.

For every student studying Pallasmaa’s classic text for the first time, The Eyes of the Skin is a revelation. It compellingly provides a totally fresh insight into architectural culture. This third edition meets readers’ desire for a further understanding of the context of Pallasmaa’s thinking by providing a new essay by architectural author and educator Peter MacKeith. This text combines both a biographical portrait of Pallasmaa and an outline of his architectural thinking, its origins and its relationship to the wider context of Nordic and European thought, past and present. The focus of the essay is on the fundamental humanity, insight and sensitivity of Pallasmaa’s approach to architecture, bringing him closer to the reader. This is illustrated by Pallasmaa’s sketches and photographs of his own work. The new edition also provides a foreword by the internationally renowned architect Steven Holl and a revised introduction by Pallasmaa himself."

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYOgbLqHRWb/ ]

[two different PDFs at:

http://arts.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pallasmaa_The-Eyes-of-the-Skin.pdf
http://home.fa.utl.pt/~al7531/pedidos/livros/Juhani%20Pallasmaa%20-%20Eyes%20of%20the%20Skin.pdf ]
books  toread  architecture  senses  multisensory  juhanipallasmaa  humans  bodies  stevenholl  sight  smell  sound  taste  texture  touch  humanism  sfsh  design  peterkeith  body 
august 2017 by robertogreco
BBC Four - John Berger: The Art of Looking
[video currently available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3VhbsXk9Ds ]

"Art, politics and motorcycles - on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped our understanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.

Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing.

The film introduces Berger's art of looking with theatre wizard Simon McBurney, film-director Michael Dibb, visual artist John Christie, cartoonist Selçuk Demiral, photographer Jean Mohr as well as two of his children, film-critic Katya Berger and the painter Yves Berger.

The prelude and starting point is Berger's mind-boggling experience of restored vision following a successful cataract removal surgery. There, in the cusp of his clouding eyesight, Berger re-discovers the irredeemable wonder of seeing.

Realised as a portrait in works and collaborations, this creative documentary takes a different approach to biography, with John Berger leading in his favourite role of the storyteller."
2016  johnberger  documentary  towatch  simonmcburney  michaeldibb  johnchristie  selçukdemiral  jeanmohr  katyaberger  yvesberger  waysofseeing  seeing  looking  noticing  biography  storytelling  skepticism  photography  rebellion  writing  howwewrite  collaboration  canon  conspirators  rebels  friendship  community  migration  motorcycles  presence  being  living  life  interestedness  interested  painting  art  history  france  belonging  place  labor  home  identity  work  peasants  craft  craftsmanship  aesthetics  design  vision  cataracts  sight  teaching  howweteach  attention  focus  agriculture  memory  memories  shit  pigs  humans  animals  childhood  perception  freedom  independence  storytellers  travelers  nomads  trickster  dead  death  meaning  meaningmaking  companionship  listening  discovery  understanding  sfsh  srg  books  publishing  television  tv  communication  engagement  certainly  uncertainty 
january 2017 by robertogreco
li.st: How My Friends Described Some Colors To Me When I Couldn't See by Ashley (@ajesster)
"When I was a kid, I was legally blind due to the improper development of neurological connections as well as underdeveloped muscles. After a great doctor and a lot of work, I can see just fine now but for a while in my childhood, after a period of nothing, all I had was light and dark - this is how I remember family/friends describing colors to me.

(ran out of room in the description but these beautiful, old memories were brought up to the forefront of my mind by @kcupcaker and @nikkilounoel's lists about how they would describe themselves to somebody who couldn't see- like me!)

Red
They had me stand outside in the sun. They told me that the heat I was feeling is red. They explained that red is the color of a burn, from heat, embarrassment, or even anger.

Yellow
I didn't touch anything for this, they just told me that whenever you laugh so hard you can't stop, that that happiness is what yellow looks like.

Green
I held soft leaves and wet grass. They told me green felt like life. To this day it is still very much my favorite color.

Blue
They put my hands in their pool. They told me that that sensation I felt while swimming, that omnipresent coolness, that's blue. Blue feels like relaxation.

Brown
I held dirt and I touched a tree. They told me brown felt like earth, and like crunchy leaves or wilting flowers.

Grey
They told me that the rain is grey, and that so is concrete or cement. That it is a hard color, stern and with no personality. (Sorry grey, I like you now! But you scared me back then)"
color  writing  description  sight  senses  via:lukeneff 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Notes on Blindness is one of the most eye-opening documentaries you'll see all year - review
"Directors: James Spinney and Peter Middleton. U cert; 90 mins

John Hull, a professor of religious education at Birmingham University, went blind in 1983, and spent much of that decade compiling detailed thoughts on the experience of sight loss – a condition he grieved at first, before finding in it much of philosophical value.

His book Touching the Rock, considered a masterpiece by no less an authority than the neurologist Oliver Sacks, is a collection of excerpts from the audio-cassette journal that John began to compile as a newly blind person, attempting to map out the strange new world confronting him. Now those same recordings, a treasure trove of frontier thought on the subject, have formed the basis for Notes on Blindness, a fascinating documentary from the first-timer team of James Spinney and Peter Middleton.

The pair have gradually assembled this project through a series of stepping stone short films, including the award-winning Rainfall (2013), which visualises one of Hull’s most powerful passages, about the enhanced geography that heavy rain provides to someone only relying on sound for their perception of a landscape.

“Rain has a way of bringing out the contours of everything,” Hull wrote. “[I]t throws a coloured blanket over previously invisible things; instead of an intermittent and thus fragmented world, the steadily falling rain creates a continuity of acoustic experience.”

The once-familiar surroundings of Hull’s garden in Birmingham are brought vividly back into focus by a downpour. And when he goes a step farther, wishing “if only rain could fall inside a room”, the filmmakers oblige, imagining the textured patter of drops on a beloved armchair and every other surface indoors.

Marvellous in short form, this section remains the standout part of their feature, and could hardly fail to – in the very act of staging this deluge behind closed doors, they’ve created the instructive soundscape of John’s dreams. But they’ve creatively woven this, and all of their other ideas, into a seamless patchwork of reminiscences, tracing John’s voyage into darkness with an astute and sensitive cinematic imagination.

The actor Dan Skinner, playing John behind a thick black beard and with his eyes typically closed, plays John by lip-synching passages of his testimony – an eerie, slightly other-worldly effect. Since this is not actually John, it puts us in mind of a blind person imperfectly imagining the impression they might be making on the world, just as he describes.

Hull’s wife Marilyn, also present on many of the recordings and with her own perspective to contribute, is played just as memorably by Simone Kirby, who does expressive things with thoughtful silence, not just the words she’s given. John’s anxieties about the quality of life any blind person will be made to sacrifice are hugely poignant, needless to say – he never has any visual reference point for his newly born son, for instance, or the physical changes in his children as they grow up.

But his determination grows, over the course of the film, to grasp the specifics of his disability as an opportunity, not just a setback. In lacking one sense, all the others gain value inestimably; and thanks to one person explaining what the loss of sight entails, many others, listening in, are able to appreciate and ponder more fully what seeing means.

The closing title card, about sighted and blind people needing each other, is a citation from John which typifies his achievement as a kind of intellectual explorer; a cartographer of the encroaching night, whose findings tell us just as much about the world we recognise by day.

Notes on Blindness is out now in cinemas, and On Demand from July 1 via Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Talk Talk TV Store"
blindness  sight  film  documentary  2016  jamesspinney  petermiddleton  johnhull  oliversacks  landscape  audio  sound  via:subtopes 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Assistive Technologies and Design: An Interview with Sara Hendren | superflux
"SF: You think a lot about the "the future of human bodies in the built environment". What are the most important insights you have gained in your research so far, about how the human body and prosthetics adapt to the built environment, or the other way around? How can we design a more symbiotic relationship, that is inclusive, but also unique to individuals?

SH: Those are questions I think about all the time! I’d say broadly that design researchers need much, much more user interview data than we have now—too often there’s a very small sampling of data that’s used to represent human-centered design research with user-experts. Because aging and sightedness and autism and so many other conditions are wildly various, we need much bigger and more robust data sets for understanding wayfinding and product use. See Boston’s Institute for Human-Centered Design’s new user expert lab as an example. They want to be as large a resource as possible, and one that clients can access and pay for when doing market research.

I also think there’s so much more thinking to be done at the systems level, rather than at the product level—but it should be systems research where designers and artists are key contributors at every stage. I think, for example, in cultures like the US and the UK, there’s a pretty narrow focus on individual independence as the only goal worth seeking out—and that independence is thought to be delivered solely via personal technological devices.

But what about community support programs that would be points of contact throughout a city, for help when a person with developmental disabilities needs help after a bus line has been rerouted, or when an elderly person needs assistance getting groceries in the door/shoveling snow? These kinds of systems would help people get and stay employed and stay in their homes for longer than might otherwise be the case.



"SF: What according to you are the drivers / weak signals / to which inclusive design for cities should be paying attention? From a technological, as well as social and cultural perspective?

SH: I think designers should first try to be more granular in their approach to “canonical” disabilities: blindness, deafness, and so on. I’d think, for example, about the gradations of sightedness that tend to get overlooked in tech for vision impairments: Most people who are technically blind, after all, *do* have some kind of visual field. They see high contrasts or bright lights only, perhaps. But they don’t operate in total darkness and they do use their vision to see.  There’s much more to be done with design accordingly, especially with *editing* cities for enriched use. Like: consider the high-contrast black and yellow markers along stairs and crosswalks and subway platforms and so on. What would users say about making those more tactile environments—even more than they are now? What else would they like to see in structural and architectural forms that could be better imagined or augmented, again with partial and low vision in mind? This would also address aging and the overall slow degeneration in vision as well."
sarahendren  2014  assistivetechnology  technology  design  community  blindness  deafness  impairment  disability  vision  aging  sight  sightedness  autism  difference  disabilities 
may 2015 by robertogreco
How Culture Shapes Our Senses - NYTimes.com
"FLORENCE, Italy — WE think of our senses as hard-wired gateways to the world. Many years ago the social psychologist Daryl J. Bem described the knowledge we gain from our senses as “zero-order beliefs,” so taken for granted that we do not even notice them as beliefs. The sky is blue. The fan hums. Ice is cold. That’s the nature of reality, and it seems peculiar that different people with their senses intact would experience it subjectively.

Yet they do. In recent years anthropologists have begun to point out that sensory perception is culturally specific. “Sensory perception,” Constance Classen, the author of “The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch,” says, “is a cultural as well as physical act.” It’s a controversial claim made famous by Marshall McLuhan’s insistence that nonliterate societies were governed by spoken words and sound, while literate societies experienced words visually and so were dominated by sight. Few anthropologists would accept that straightforwardly today. But more and more are willing to argue that sensory perception is as much about the cultural training of attention as it is about biological capacity.

Now they have some quantitative evidence to support the point. Recently, a team of anthropologists and psychologists at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University, both in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, set out to discover how language and culture affected sensory awareness. Under the leadership of Asifa Majid and Stephen C. Levinson, they made up a kit of systematic stimuli for the traditional five senses: for sight, color chips and geometric forms; for hearing, pitch, amplitude and rhythm variations; for smell, a set of scratch-and-sniff cards; and so forth. They took these kits to over 20 cultural groups around the world. Their results upend some of our basic assumptions.

For example, it’s fairly common, in scientific literature, to find the view that “humans are astonishingly bad at odor identification and naming,” as a recent review of 30 years of experiments concluded. When ordinary people are presented with the smell of ordinary substances (coffee, peanut butter, chocolate), they correctly identify about half of them. That’s why we think of scent as a trigger for personal memory — leading to the recall of something specific, particular, uniquely our own.

It turns out that the subjects of those 30 years of experiments were mostly English-speaking. Indeed, English speakers find it easy to identify the common color in milk and jasmine flowers (“white”) but not the common scent in, say, bat droppings and the leaf of ginger root. When the research team presented what should have been familiar scents to Americans — cinnamon, turpentine, lemon, rose and so forth — they were terrible at naming them. Americans, they wrote, said things like this when presented with the cinnamon scratch-and-sniff card: “I don’t know how to say that, sweet, yeah; I have tasted that gum like Big Red or something tastes like, what do I want to say? I can’t get the word. Jesus it’s like that gum smell like something like Big Red. Can I say that? O.K. Big Red, Big Red gum.”

When the research team visited the Jahai, rain-forest foragers on the Malay Peninsula, they found that the Jahai were succinct and more accurate with the scratch-and-sniff cards. In fact, they were about as good at naming what they smelled as what they saw. They do, in fact, have an abstract term for the shared odor in bat droppings and the leaf of ginger root. Abstract odor terms are common among people on the Malay Peninsula.

The team also found that several communities — speakers of Persian, Turkish and Zapotec — used different metaphors than English and Dutch speakers to describe pitch, or frequency: Sounds were thin or thick rather than high or low. In later work, they demonstrated that the metaphors were powerful enough to disrupt perception. When Dutch speakers heard a tone while being shown a mismatched height bar (e.g., a high tone and a low bar) and were asked to sing the tone, they sang a lower tone. But the perception wasn’t influenced when they were shown a thin or thick bar. When Persian speakers heard a tone and were shown a bar of mismatched thickness, however, they misremembered the tone — but not when they were shown a bar mismatched for height.

The team also found that some of these differences could change over time. They taught the Dutch speakers to think about pitch as thin or thick, and soon these participants, too, found that their memory of a tone was affected by being shown a bar that was too thick or too thin. They found that younger Cantonese speakers had fewer words for tastes and smells than older ones, a shift attributed to rapid socioeconomic development and Western-style schooling.

I wrote this in Florence, Italy, a city famous as a feast for the senses. People say that Florence teaches you to see differently — that as the soft light moves across the ocher buildings, you see colors you never noticed before.

It taught Kevin Systrom, a co-founder of Instagram, to see differently. He attributes his inspiration to a photography class he took in Florence while at a Stanford study-abroad program about a decade ago. His teacher took away his state-of-the-art camera and insisted he use an old plastic one instead, to change the way he saw. He loved those photos, the vintage feel of them, and the way the buildings looked in the light. He set out to recreate that look in the app he built. And that has changed the way many of us now see as well."
senses  taste  smell  olfaction  touch  sight  seeing  noticing  language  languages  culture  darylbem  tmluhrmann  constanceclassen  wcydwt  glvo  slow  marshallmcluhan  anthropology  psychology  perception  sense  asifamajid  stephenlevinson  sound  hearing  tone  pitch  rhythm  color  comparison  schooling  unschooling  deschooling  literacies  literacy  identification  naming  kevinsystrom 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Animals see power lines as glowing, flashing bands, research reveals | Environment | theguardian.com
"Power lines are seen as glowing and flashing bands across the sky by many animals, research has revealed.

The work suggests that the pylons and wires that stretch across many landscapes are having a worldwide impact on wildlife.

Scientists knew many creatures avoid power lines but the reason why was mysterious as they are not impassable physical barriers. Now, a new understanding of just how many species can see the ultraviolet light – which is invisible to humans – has revealed the major visual impact of the power lines.

"It was a big surprise but we now think the majority of animals can see UV light," said Professor Glen Jeffery, a vision expert at University College London. "There is no reason why this phenomenon is not occuring around the world."

Dr Nicolas Tyler, an ecologist at UIT The Arctic University of Norway and another member of the research team, said: "The flashes occur at random in time and space, so the power lines are not grey and passive, but seen as lines of light flashing."

He said the discovery has global significance: "The loss and fragmentation of habitat by infrastructure is the principle global threat to biodiversity – it is absolutely major. Roads have always got particular attention but this will push power lines right up the list of offenders." The avoidance of power lines can interfere with migration routes, breeding grounds and grazing for both animals and birds."
animals  wildlife  nature  vision  powerlines  infrastructure  sight  migration 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Lives of Images Peter Galison in conversation with Trevor Paglen [.pdf]
"What is observation? What is seeing? What counts as “right depiction”? Are images today now doing more than showing? What is objectivity? What does the future of imaging hold?

Peter Galison, one of the world’s leading historians of science, has written widely on how visual representation shapes our understanding of the world. Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work with photography has explored governmental secrecy and the limits of seeing. For his most recent project, The Last Pictures, Paglen worked with a group of scientists to create a disc of images marking our historical moment; the project culminated in last year’s launch of a satellite, carrying those images, that will remain in Earth’s orbit perpetually. The following conversation took place at Aperture’s office earlier this year."



"Well, what is it that the digital really does? There are many ways in which the digital is shaped by the legacy of analog photography and film. Both for political reasons and aesthetic reasons, what’s really important is the fact that digital is small, cheap, and searchable. The combination of these three features is dramatic. It means that your smartphone does facial recognition—no longer is that an inaccessible and futuristic piece of the state-security apparatus. It’s ubiquitous.

Aesthetically, this can mean a kind of decentering, a vision of the world that is not directly human. It also means that cameras are everywhere, and you’re not even aware of them. There’s an interesting film by a colleague and friend, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, working with Véréna Paravel, called Leviathan (2012), filmed on fishing boats in the North Atlantic. A lot of the film would have been completely unimaginable just a generation ago. They use little high-resolution digital cameras to achieve points of view in places that would previously have been impossible: amidst the pile of dead fish, or underwater as the tank is being filled, or looking back at the front of the boat. These are not impossible camera angles, but they’re nonhuman points of view."



"It seems that we’re moving away from thinking about images interms of representation and toward thinking about their creation as part of a networked process, guided by political or economic “scripts” embedded in the algorithms controlling these image-making networks. If we look at Facebook’s facial-recognition and search technologies, or at Instagram, we see similar things going on, but in a commercial context."



"If images become tools, it’s easier to see them as stepping-stones to other things. For me, the fundamental separation between art and science is not an eternal characteristic of science. The split happened in a historical moment. If you said to Leonardo da Vinci—pardon me, historians—“Are your studies of turbulent water art or science?” he would reply (so I imagine): “You’re crazy! What are you talking about? I don’t even recognize this choice.” But in the nineteenth century, you begin to have the idea of an objective image and of a scientist who is defined by being self-restrained, followed by the idea of maximal detachment from the image. At that moment, Charles Baudelaire criticized photography, saying (approximately): “You know, this isn’t really part of art because it’s insufficiently modulated by the person who says he’s an artist.” In that sense, what Baudelaire is saying and what late-nineteenth-century scientists are saying is the same thing, except they come to opposite conclusions. What they agree on is that art is defined by intervention and science is defined by lack of intervention.

I believe the trunk split, at that point, into two branches. But in many ways the branches are coming back together again in our moment. People in the art world aren’t frightened, in the way they once were, of having a scientific dimension to what they do. It’s not destabilizing for Matthew Ritchie to collaborate with scientists, nor is it a professional disqualification for scientists to work with artists."
trevorpaglen  petergalison  aperture  images  photography  perception  interpretation  history  science  art  seeing  sight  leviathan  recording  video  film  processing  photoshop  digital  luciencastaing-taylor  vérénaparavel  presentation  manipulation  capture  distortion  depiction  universalism  language  communication  symbols  semiotics  aesthetics  interdisciplinary  glvo  instagram  networkedfictions  canon  matthewritchie  leonardodavinci  facebook  uniquity  gopro  charlesbaudelaire  newaesthetic  convergence 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Tupperwolf - Lichen names
"Yesterday I happened across that Eames promotion for the SX-70 for the first time. It reminded me, among many things, of an old friend, now dead – Bob Rodieck.

My high school was my mother (a qualified teacher), our neighbor R., and me. One of the classes was to make a book on our island’s natural history. When we were planning it, we visited Bob on an extremely gray spring day to talk about desktop publishing, because he’d been talking about how he was writing a book himself. (I may have the timeline slightly wrong here. Please consider this an As I Remember It story.)

We explained what we wanted to do. Bob, who was a freshly emeritus professor, scratched his stubble and leaned forward, then leaned back. He asked if we knew the difference between vector and raster graphics. I started explaining how they’re actually fairly isomorphic, since pixels can be represented as squares and, conversely, control points are in a discrete space, and from then on we were friends. It was Bob who turned me on to Tufte, and I turned him on to Bringhurst.



The natural history book was a well chosen project. We interviewed a lot of the oldest and most eccentric people on the island. They had records, written or in memory, about when flowers used to bloom, where the clams used to live before they were depleted, how many eagles used to nest on the point, how the old Samish woman had treated leather, when the last puffin was seen, what time of year the beaver showed up, and so on. There was the mystery of the flying squirrel.

We got a lot of very guarded mushroom knowledge from Dorothy H., who was in her eighties and roughly three times as vigorous and alert as I was. It’s really hard to come by good mushroom knowledge, because the people careful enough to understand mushrooms tend to be careful about risking other people on possibly poisonous food. Dorothy played her cards close to her chest.



Bob eventually finished his book, which was called The First Steps in Seeing. It was very well received, but as far as I can tell never sold well – Amazon has only four reviews, though they’re all five-star. I think it’s because he wasn’t around to promote it. He’d told me this wonderful story about graphic design and experimental design once: He went to get a check-up. He was given a form to fill out that included dietary habits. He said that he was about to check “1 serving of green vegetables/day” when he noticed that the checkbox itself was red! He figured that, being of northern European stock, he was adapted to fewer greens, and checked the first box that wasn’t red, 3 servings, and called it good. Not long after finishing the book, he was diagnosed with gut cancer.

Towards the end, he was on the island resting when he started having an unusual type of trouble moving his eyes. He said it was clearly a certain potassium channel failing, and it was time to go back to Seattle and die.

I think that, had he been around to promote it and put out a second edition, his book would be a classic now. It’s in the details and how they’re subordinated to the big-picture view. He drew all the illustrations himself. He chose the spot colors. He thought very hard about what path through the material he could provide that would be easiest for the beginner but pass the best trailheads for those who went further. He threw a lot of textbook conventions out the window and never missed them. He gave a crap but didn’t give a fuck.

Dorothy’s reluctance to tell us which mushrooms we could eat drove us to the classic texts, David Arora’s books. We could use him as a lever on her – “Arora says …; is that really true?”. In other fields we found other guidebooks: Pojar & MacKinnon on plants, Love’s Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast.

If you don’t spend a lot of time with natural history guidebooks, you might not know that the best ones have voice – authorial voice. It’s necessary, I think, to make a book that’s basically a huge list of details interesting enough to pay attention to. And I suspect you’re unlikely to excell in mycology, botany, or marine biology unless you have a sense of perspective. If you are humorless, it’s a lot easier to be a businessperson than to spend three weeks in a tent, looking at little tufts of fungus–alga symbionts.

It’s the big picture and the little picture. It’s Philip Morrison’s speech at the end of that Polaroid film. It’s the SX-70 letting you be more inside experience, less concerned with problems of representation, in something more than a tree or a net. It’s an idea of technology that seems a little dangerous and very good to me. It reminds me of Twitter a little. Lately there I appreciated a map of surf conditions from Bob’s son, and reconnected with my fellow student R.’s cousin."
charlieloyd  highschool  projects  projectbasedlearning  pbl  naturalhistory  lichen  names  naming  2013  memory  learning  education  books  writing  teaching  sx-70  philipmorrison  polaroid  mushrooms  bobrodieck  unschooling  deschooling  sight  seeing  memories  imaging  photography  publishing  promotion  fun  play  words  wordplay  design  davidarora  trevorgoward  brucemccune  delmeidinger  science  interestedness  interestingness  interested 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Dung Beetles, Dancing to the Milky Way : The New Yorker
"The cosmos is nothing if not egalitarian; we are all equally small. It seems fair that Earth’s sanitation workers should benefit from the Milky Way, as the rest of us do. And dung beetles likely aren’t alone; crickets, moths, nocturnal bees, and other insects probably share their ability to navigate by the Milky Way and by polarized moonlight. “I’d be surprised if they were the only insect,” Warrant said."

"We suppose that we are superior to dung beetles, but are we really? At least dung beetles recycle. We scavenge, hoard, consume…what? Crap, mostly. It piles up around us; increasingly we live on a ball of it. Even light we waste; designed to illuminate, it now obscures. As our celestial guides recede, we risk losing our bearings and will have ever less to consider but ourselves."
milkyway  astronomy  navigation  skies  sky  dungbeetles  insects  2013  nature  animals  via:anne  cosmos  egalitarianism  science  biology  sight  vision  light  sun 
january 2013 by robertogreco
A Conversation with Mary Lou Jepsen - ACM Queue
[Notes and quotes here by Caren Litherland]

“If you look at what’s been happening in computers for the past 40 years, it’s been about more power, more megahertz, more MIPS. As a result, we’ve had huge applications and operating systems. Instead, at OLPC we focused on an entirely different kind of solution space. We focused on low power consumption, no hard drive, no moving parts, built-in networking, and sunlight-readable screens.” Interesting, prescient; focus on lower-power solutions preceded/anticipated larger cultural shift to mobile? /

“Right now I’m staring at my laptop. Not a single pixel on my screen is moving. What’s the CPU doing on? What’s the motherboard doing on? The way to get to low power—the big secret—is to turn stuff off that you’re not using. But nobody has ever made a laptop with a screen that self-refreshes.” /

“We wanted to design something that would engage kids beyond these rote-learning exercises, so the software architecture is completely different from a regular laptop. The user interface, called SUGAR, is based on the idea of everything being shareable; it explicitly enables collaboration.” /

“They want the screen—they want the screen desperately.” /

“The required contrast ratio for a display is now about 2,000 to 1, and the human visual system can’t see more than 500 to 1. It’s nuts.” /

“I started to look at what has been happening in specsmanship and *the perception of what quality is*, rather than how the human visual system perceives quality.” [my emph] /

“It would be a really good thing if you could lose yourself in a laptop and start to find another world.”
screens  technology  history  culture  maryloujepsen  olpc  displays  reading  vision  sight  via:litherland 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Song of the Machine on Vimeo
What if we could change our view of the world with the flick of a switch? 'Song of the Machine' explores the possibilities of a new, modified – even enhanced – vision, where users can tune into streams of information and electromagnetic vistas currently outside of human vision.

This film is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Superflux and neuroscientist Dr. Patrick Degenaar, whose pioneering work in optogenetic retinal prostheses aims to bring back sight to the blind.

Unlike the implants and electrodes used to achieve bionic vision, this science modifies the human body genetically from within. First, a virus is used to infect the degenerate eye with a light-sensitive protein, altering the biological capabilities of the subject…"

[More: http://superflux.in/blog/song-of-the-machine-in-depth AND http://www.sciencegallery.com/humanplus/song-machine ]
2011  vision  sensing  senses  justinpickard  blind  sight  augmentation  prosthetics  perception  augmentedreality  ar  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
A bees-eye view: How insects see flowers very differently to us | Mail Online
"To the human eye, a garden in bloom is a riot of colour. Flowers jostle for our attention, utilising just about every colour of the rainbow.

But of course, it is not our attention they need to attract, but that of insects, the perfect pollinating agents.

And as these remarkable pictures show, there is more to many flowers than meets the eye - the human eye at least. Many species, including bees, can see a broader spectrum of light than we can, opening up a whole new world.

The images, taken by Norwegian scientist-cameraman Bjorn Roslett, present a series of flowers in both natural and ultraviolet light, revealing an insect's eye view."
bees  flowers  light  physics  color  sight  animals  nature  perception  insects  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Robins can literally see magnetic fields, but only if their vision is sharp | Not Exactly Rocket Science | Discover Magazine
"Some birds can sense the Earth’s magnetic field and orientate themselves with the ease of a compass needle. This ability is a massive boon for migrating birds, keeping frequent flyers on the straight and narrow. But this incredible sense is closely tied to a more mundane one – vision. Thanks to special molecules in their retinas, birds like the European robins can literally see magnetic fields. The fields appear as patterns of light and shade, or even colour, superimposed onto what they normally see.
magnets  animals  birds  robins  via:migurski  migration  nature  perception  physics  vision  biology  compass  magnetic  senses  sight  science  light  evolution 
july 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - GOOD: Animal Superpowers
"Artists Kenichi Okada and Chris Woebken have created three devices designed to give children a chance to experience heightened animal senses. For example, their Bird Device consists of a GPS that vibrates when oriented towards home, simulating the instincts of migratory fowl."
via:javierarbona  glvo  animals  electronics  senses  sight  ants  giraffes  birds  nature  interaction  design  wearable  wearables 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Wired Science - Mixed Feelings: Scientists Rewire the Brain through the Tongue | PBS
"Most of us see with our eyes, but what if we could see with other parts of our body, too? The idea may seem ridiculous, but it's already been done. Nearly a half-century ago, maverick neuroscientist Paul Bach-y-Rita discovered that it was possible to "rewire" the adult brain, connecting regions in ways no one ever had imagined. Today, his ideas have given a handful of blind people the ability to see for the first time—using their tongues."
brain  medicine  sensory  senses  science  paulbach-y-rita  tongues  sight 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Key to All Optical Illusions Discovered | LiveScience
"one-tenth of a second goes by before the brain translates signal into visual perception of the world..our visual system has evolved to compensate for neural delays, generating images of what will occur one-tenth of a second into future."
science  brain  psychology  perception  neuroscience  illusions  cognition  mind  cognitive  biology  senses  sight  visualization 
june 2008 by robertogreco
How Birds Navigate: Research Team Is First To Model Photochemical Compass
"results provide clear proof of principle that magnetic compass sense of migratory birds is based on magnetically-sensitive chemical reaction whose product yields and/or rate depend on orientations of molecules involved with respect to geomagnetic field,"
birds  migration  science  biology  navigation  wayfinding  vision  sight 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Experience: I have Alice In Wonderland syndrome | Health and wellbeing | Life and Health
"symptoms just got worse. Everything was now distorted, all the time. Walking down the road, parked cars appeared the size of Corgi models, while I'd feel disproportionately tall. At work, my chair seemed enormous, while I seemed to have shrunk."
health  medicine  oddities  perception  psychology  sight  hallucinations  alice 
february 2008 by robertogreco
This American Life 110: Mapping
[new link: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/110/mapping ]

"Five ways of mapping the world. One story about people who make maps the traditional way—by drawing things we can see. And other stories about people who map the world using smell, sound, touch, and taste. The world redrawn by the five senses."
art  artists  cartography  maps  mapping  stories  storytelling  visualization  nyc  brooklyn  observation  audio  geography  deniswood  senses  touch  smell  sight  vision  taste  sound 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Birds Can "See" Earth's Magnetic Field
"Scientists already suspected birds' eyes contain molecules that are thought to sense Earth's magnetic field. In a new study, German researchers found that these molecules are linked to an area of the brain known to process visual information."
birds  navigation  sight  animals  biology  perception  nature  science 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Saccade - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"A saccade is a fast movement of an eye, head or other part of an animal's body or device. It can also be a fast shift in frequency of an emitted signal or other quick change. However, this article deals with saccadic eye motion."
biology  perception  psychology  sight  usability  vision  science  movement  glvo 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Facial Recognition - Brain - Faces, Faces Everywhere - New York Times
"Compelling answers are beginning to emerge from biologists and computer scientists who are gaining new insights into how the brain recognizes and processes facial data."
brain  psychology  science  human  sight  faces  people  recognition  visual 
february 2007 by robertogreco
Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena
"These pages demonstrate visual phenomena, and »optical« or »visual illusions«. The latter is more appropriate, because most effects have their basis in the visual pathway, not in the optics of the eye"
animation  illusions  neuroscience  perception  psychology  visualization  vision  tricks  science  sight  human  brain 
december 2006 by robertogreco
rodcorp: Directed saccades
"That cue encourages our eyes to move like this. I like to think of it --no doubt, entirely incorrectly-- as a kind of directed and primed saccade of the eye-brain."
visual  reading  graphics  comics  sight  lines  comments 
december 2006 by robertogreco
Menno_Kroezen_03 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"Through these binoculars, children can observe the world through the eyes of a fish or a chameleon. The eyes of a fish are on the left and right side of its head, which means that fish see two separate things; a chameleon can move its eyes in several dir
children  animals  perception  sight  vision 
november 2006 by robertogreco

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