Seeing and visual attention are not equivalent. While seeing may refer to light information falling on the retina, visual attention results from the brain’s complex, multi-stage information processing, selecting and filtering from what meets the eye. As a visual artist, I have long practiced control of my visual attention. I can look at a scene and choose to focus on one of its varied elements, e.g., the colors, shapes, or movements; objects and their significance, individual or in relationship. I also use visual attention in art-making. My choices applying color and line to canvas ultimately affect the viewer’s experience of the painting.
This video artwork, built around three sets of polarities, asks Which do you see first, or most vividly: hot or cold colors, 2D or 3D spaces, ambiguous objects or ones recognized? The project expresses my belief that art can be used for studying and developing visual attention in a variety of applications, from everyday encounters in museums and public spaces, to research studies of people with attention conditions, such autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
(My humble gratitude to my mentors for helped me on this project and write up)
Vision seekers would have been able to reach out to visions while they were in lighter states, experiencing after-images, or having shifted to a more alert state, they were trying to reconstitute their visions on the surfaces where they had seen them floating.” (“The Mind in the Cave” David Lewis-Williams).
Mental inflexibility is a hallmark symptom of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is best seen in restricted and repetitive behaviors, which are required for an ASD diagnosis. These behaviors can range from stereotyped and repetitive movements to repetitive thoughts. The visual arts are very impactful in the improvement of intellects, visual and three-dimensional differences, fine motor skills, and coping. Neuroimaging studies provide a picture where cognitive and emotional processing is carried out by the brain. Cognitive and emotional influences are connected with color theory also. In my studies for this project.
Perception in people with ASD can also be less flexible than in others. This can be understood by considering a line & dots drawing of a cube. When looking at this drawing, the 3-D structure of the cube seems to freely invert, the front becomes the back and then becomes the front again. This type of perceptual switching is called bistable perception. In the case of autism perception is often overly stable and does not switch back and forth as often as it does in others. My own project is emphasizing there is no cube and no rectangular. If there is no certain shape how would it be in their vision? It feels like a circle (originally is an oval element) rotating with speed or at a very slow pace. Every 2D image which is rotating, they perceive as a 3D image.
This video installation, where shapes and patterns are less magnified, and elements motions are in the transition phase and images are in a floating manner. My idea to create this work to draw their attention in an environment which is new and friendly for their eyes and mind to read this video an e.g. dots are like rains droplets, shapes and slides are like a kid’s movie where their mind would be engage with an interesting visual impact of changing patterns and colors. These behaviors can range from stereotyped and repetitive movements to repetitive thoughts. The visual arts are very impactful in the improvement of intellects, visual and three-dimensional differences, fine motor skills, and coping. As a visual artist I am hoping that it would shift their thinking pattern in a definite direction, which may help to grow their ‘attention skill’’.
Also, it would be interesting that ‘the kind of consciousness, they experience in their own world”. If I understand this with the lenses of metaphysical aspect, they have ‘supervision’ with altered state of consciousness.
An estimated 70 million people on the planet are on the autism spectrum.