lecture 3: the dome of the sky

- introduction: the metaphor of the blind man with walking sticks (Descartes)

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blind man from “La Dioptrique” by René Descartes (1637), and an impression of the limit of our visual world by Jacob von Uexküll (1934).

- visual perception as an activity guided by concepts

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grouping principles from Gestalt Psychology

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the Ames illusion (1946)

- vision as an adaptive system

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experiments with inverting goggles by Erismann (1930)

- sensory substitution

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visual perception via tactile projection by Bach-y-Rita (1969)

- the emergence of the subjective image

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portraits of Joseph Plateau and Michel Eugène Chevreul (ca. 1830)

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impressionist painting by Alfred Sisley: “La Seine à Suresnes” (1877)

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Paul Cézanne, “Le Jardin aux Lauves” (1906)

- thought forms and optical mindstates

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entoptic images as seen by Jan Evangelista Purkyne (ca. 1820)

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thoughtform 27: “Sudden Fright”, by Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant (1902)

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Wassily Kandinsky, “Some Circles” (1926)

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Bridget Riley, “Cataract II” (1967)

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Thomas Wilfred composing lumia projections in 1923

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still from Jordan Belsons “Samadhi” (1967)

- Stan Brakhage and ‘The Untutored Eye’

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further reading:

  • R.L.Gregory, “Eye and Brain” Princeton University Press, 5th ed., 1997.
  • Nicholas J. Wade, “Perception and Illusion, Historical Perspectives”, Springer, New York, 2005.
  • P.C.Vitz, A.B.Glimcher, “Modern Art and Modern Science, The Parallel Analysis of Vision”, Praeger, New York, 1984.
  • William C. Wees, “Light Moving in Time, Studies in the Visual Aesthetics of Avant-Garde Film”, University of California Press, 1992.

even further reading:

  • R.Held, W.Richards (eds), “Perception: Mechanisms and Models (Readings from Scientific American)”, Freeman, San Francisco, 1971.
  • Annie Besant, C.W.Leadbeater, “Thought Forms”, Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, 1901.
  • Stan Brakhage, “Metaphors on Vision”, Film Culture, New York, 1963.
  • 71 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena, site by Michael Bach
  • short survey of sensory substitution history on my own site