On The Ways of Seeing

January 2018 Issue

All perception mediates between self and external reality, but among humans vision holds a unique position. Despite the thought-ordering power of spoken language, it is still the visual world that shapes our experience most directly, to the extent that we treat the optic nerve as direct line between the world and cognition. It is no coincidence that we say "the way I see it" when we actually mean "the way I think it". This did not escape media theorist Marshall McLuhan, who observed that we go so far in conflating the psychological and visual as to call forward-thinkers "visionaries", and to say "always" when we actually mean all-times. Thus the visual world, the eye, and more recently that precision artificial eye-ball, the camera, map our interior experience, even as the brain reshapes what we see and perceive in turn. We will open 2018 with a fresh viewpoint (thought-point), a view of the act of seeing itself. Of looking outwards: unaided, through optical devices that open windows onto larger or smaller worlds, through the reflecting surfaces of the latest technologies, or even by more abstract means: visualization of the unseeable and the visual memories of the blind. Join us. Watch a few films. Seeing, after all, is believing.

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