Breaking the Frame

Breaking the Frame is an art installation that explores the connection between visual perception and time by displacing the user’s reflected image over time and space. The installation elevates the user’s self-awareness in the present moment and challenges our traditional perception of a mirror image by incorporating not only our present reflection, but also our reflections from the immediate past.

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Thesis Prep: Optical Devices

Continuing my exploration of the themes of optics and eyesight, I made some optical devices of my own.

I popped the lenses out of an old pair of sunglasses and got to work with some construction paper and thread to make seven designs to affix to the glasses in place of the lenses. I tried wearing the glasses and noted my observations, and gave the most interesting ones to some friends who generously volunteered as test subjects.

Sketches of the experiment

 

The most interesting designs were the one with multiple small polka dots (#4), which created an odd sense of depth, an interesting blur effect and made the wearer more aware of their eyes’ focus; the one with a single larger dot on each eye (#3), which gave the wearer peripheral vision only; and the one that was all blacked out except for three small holes on each eye, which blacked out most of the field of vision, forced the user to move their head to see, and they were only privy to viewing three small areas within that field of vision, without being able to see what was between them.

Below are images from the experiment. Next step might be to convey what the scene looks like to the person wearing the glasses.


Exploratory projects

To begin my thesis explorations, I decided to focus on why I feel that eyesight and visual perception are relevant to me.

I did a 20-minute sketch of a personal story.

When I was about seven years old, I discovered (to my surprise) that I needed glasses.

Then, I sketched my proposed plan to go outside and try and capture the world a little differently than I might normally do.

 

What can I do in two hours?

After drawing this, I was a little scared to go outside without the perfect vision afforded by contact lenses. But I was wearing my glasses, so I'd be fine.

It was Halloween – a chaotic evening in the Village. My goal was to go outside wearing glasses, and take them off at regular intervals to see what I could/couldn’t see – and then take some pictures that might capture the feeling of having less than perfect vision.

My photos of Halloween are below. Here are a couple of observations from the exercise:

  • I can everything perfectly in the camera’s LCD display when I hold it in front of my face.
  • Lights look awesome when you are near-sighted, but the huge blurs they create make it really difficult to see anything else.
  • I’m more sensitive to sound when I can’t see very well.
  • It’s terrifying to walk down the street unable to see where you’re going. Especially on Halloween amidst a merry crowd of costumed revelers.

 

 

Thesis prep, Step 1, Take 3

How does eyesight affect visual perception? That question, however obscure at this point, is my starting point for thesis exploration.

I’ve made a couple of attempts at expanding upon ideas that I wasn’t very into, and toyed around with others. Productivity (in the broad sense) and self-marketing/censoring through images (hello, Facebook profile pics) have both ended up in the unused ideas pile. Now I’ve come up with something I think I can get behind.

Beginning with the question, “How Does Eyesight Affect Visual Perception?” I grabbed my markers and explored the question by jotting down word associations along with proposed forms, materials, affects/emotions, verbs, colors, motivations, proposed audiences and contexts for the thesis piece.

This overarching topic is way too expansive, so I decided upon two 20-minute projects and one 2-hour project to help me explore the idea, which I’ll document in my next post.

 

Thesis Prep

I often have a tough time figuring out what to do for projects, so I’m taking Thesis Prep this semester in the hope that I’ll be able to focus on doing, rather than thinking about, my thesis in Spring 2011. Watch this space for Kat’s soul-searching, mind-mapping fun and games.