Mood Ring Project, Resources

As part of my thinking and writing process for this mood ring project, I did some research. Here are links to sources that were helpful, and a few passages that I found particularly interesting. I will keep adding to this list as I work back through my notes.

To read more about my writing process, see my log entries with the tag, vision.

The biggest inspiration for this project is Georgina Kleege’s 1999 book Sight Unseen. Not only did she give me the idea for trying to find my own blind spot, but she inspired me to think more about vision and blindness and to bust the binary between seeing and not seeing.

Blind Spots, Filling-in

A central scotoma is a blind spot that occurs in the center of one’s vision.  It can appear in several different ways.  It may look like a black or gray spot for some and for others it may be a blurred smudge or a distorted view in one’s straight ahead vision.  Scotomas may start out as a small nuisance and then get larger or there may be several blind spots or scotomas that block one’s field of vision.   Scotomas that develop in the periphery of one’s vision are not as concerning or disabling as those that develop in the center.

What is it (Scotoma) and How does it affect one’s vision?

What is filling-in? It is the phenomenon in which an empty region of visual space appears to be filled with the color, brightness or texture of its surround. The brain is capable of filling-in the blind spot, borders, surfaces and objects.

Visual Filling-in
The Brain

some interesting facts that I might have learned but always forget because some part of me is always resistant to retaining scientific information:

  • 30% of the neurons in the cortex are for vision; 8% for touch; 3% hearing
  • there are 4 lobes in the cortex: frontal (cognitive functions and voluntary movement); parietal (temperature, taste, touch, pain, spatial positioning); temporal (hearing–and more); occipital (vision) SOURCE

Ever since ophthalmology became a science, its practitioners have been obsessively preoccupied with only one aspect of the total, complex process of seeing—the physiological. They have paid attention exclusively to eyes, not at all to the mind which makes use of the eyes to see with.

Aldous Huxley’s  The Art of Seeing

Human perception is patently imperfect, so even a normal brain must fabricate a fair amount of data to provide a complete sense of our surroundings. We humans are lucky that we have these fancy brains to chew up the fibrous chunks of reality and regurgitate it into a nice, mushy paste which our conscious minds can digest.

Alan Bellows

The brain, explains neurobiologist Semir Zeki of the University of London, has to actively construct or invent our visual world. Confronted with an overwhelming barrage of visual information, it must sort out relevant features and make snap judgments about what they mean. It has to guess at the true nature of reality by interpreting a series of clues written in visual shorthand; these clues help distinguish near from far, objects from background, motion in the outside world from motion created by the turn of the head.

The Visual Thing
How We See

vision defined: not just seeing with our eyes, but the ability to understand, almost instantaneously what we see, with our brains (The Visual Thing).

Things the Machinery of our Vision Does
  • see color
  • detect motion
  • identify shapes
  • gauge distance and speed
  • judge the size of faraway objects
  • see in 3D
  • fill in blind spots
  • automatically correct distorted information
  • erase extraneous info that clouds our view (blood vessels, noses)
Ways of Analyzing Visual System
  • Anatomical studies: neural wiring and how things are connected
  • Physiological studies: how cell/s react to stimuli in visual field
  • Perceptual psychological studies: how people react/adapt/respond to illusions and tricks
Depicting Central Vision Loss

I believe that there is a problem with how central vision loss is typically portrayed in the media. Medical texts, journals, advertisements and even the websites of eye health organisations, portray central vision loss, and diseases of the macula such as AMD, and Stargardt’s Disease, as a big black spot at the centre of the visual field with perfect eye sight all around. These types of portrayals are meant to show what such diseases look like from the patient’s perspective. The problem may stem from the fact that most of these descriptions and pictures are made by people who do not have central vision loss – the voice of the patient is generally absent in discourses of eye health. I have found that these misrepresentations of vision loss are very different from my lived experience and that central vision loss is actually very hard to describe, whether in words or pictures. This is because the symptoms of central vision loss are dynamic and ever changing, they are always influenced by environmental, physical and emotional states. Such complex symptoms cannot be condensed into a simple catch all ‘black spot’.

The Problem with Depicting Central Vision Loss
Form Inspirations
Content Inspirations