Augmented Illusions: passers-by (hoogstraat)

I’ve often wondered how others would respond if they saw the street and its movement as I see it with what’s left of my peripheral vision. Rotterdam sensory artist Alex de Jong created a video sequence of time-lapse photographs that conveys something of my perception very compellingly. See it on his blog, Augmented Illusions. Alex writes:

For a long time my work has been in between photography and video. I so love the ability to produce “photographs that move”. I may add: “photographs that have sound”. I was surprised in finding out that the snippet of music I used for this timelapse is also used for a timelapse sequence in its original context. But it all goes together beautifully and I have found that not having a static image, but a sequence is a much more natural way of working for me now.

The video was originally uploaded on his Flickr site, where you will find other videos and still photography.

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6 Responses to Augmented Illusions: passers-by (hoogstraat)

  1. ms modigliani says:

    I felt disoriented when I watched the video of “passers-by.” The loud jarring music didn’t help either. It’s like when I take my contacts out and can’t really make out what things are in the distance. Things are blurry and I can’t make out shapes, and miss the fine details. I don’t take my sight for granted, and was surprised to learn that there are over 10 million blind or visually impaired Americans.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Alex’s street scene is a pedestrian environment. Imagine it with cars looming here and there, and you can appreciate why I loath walking through parking lots.

  3. ms modigliani says:

    Yes, I can appreciate the dangers of the parking lot and its unpredictability.

    I’m always impressed how you “map” out unfamiliar cities and remember routes to and from destinations. Your sense of direction and “place” memory make you an enjoyable strolling partner.

  4. tomrobertstennessee says:

    Thank-you for posting that, Mark. I have always appreciated your inquiries into how you see the world and how others do. My painting teacher in Portland, Maine, the late Bill Collins, spoke about developing an awareness of one’s own vision as the basis of painting. He communicated the differences between binocular and peripheral vision. He described binocular vision as functional, enabling us to read or pick up object with our hands or focus on a target. He enthused about peripheral vision as though each person in the world has a unique way of seeing, no less distinct than an individual’s face. He used to say that… “Subject matter means nothing. Rembrandt was painting the same religious scenes and portraits as everyone else in Holland. It was his vision that separated him from the other painters.” I remember, Mark, when we first met at Spencefield lean-to in the Smoky Mountains National Park, you were having a discussion with someone in your group who claimed that El Greco’s paintings appeared elongated due to a [stigmitism]. I was always fascinated by that theory, but the label does nothing to characterize the incredible, unique vision of El Greco.

  5. Mark Willis says:

    Tom, I can almost remember that conversation. I remember the setting, the roaring fire and stone hearth in the Spence Field trail shelter. I can imagine who among my crew had a knowledge of El Greco and astigmatism. That would have been Rodney, raconteur par excellence. What I don’t remember is my opinion that night. I knew intuitively then that something trans formative was happening to my vision, but my eye disease wasn’t diagnosed until a couple weeks later when I went to the university hospital. I wonder if I had any glimmer then how I would come to resist the medicalization of painters and paintings. It was fortuitous to meet you there at the beginning of this lifelong process called “going blind.” I’ve learned much from you about visual art over the past 35 years.

  6. tomrobertstennessee says:

    Mark, for the record, you derided your friend’s allegation that El Greco had astigmatism. I also “resist the medicalization of painters and paintings.” Science and medicine are focused exclusively on the practical aspects of vision, which can be accurately measured, like the ability to read, drive a car, or distinguish colors. There is no scientific device that can measure Monet’s pleasure in seeing his gardens, the emotion of Willem de Kooning or the detached attitude of Lucian Freud. I agree that it was fortuitous meeting up on the A.T. For me the lifelong process has been developing awareness. Frankly speaking, I barely knew how to express myself with the “Queen’s English” back then, and through this on-and-off-correspondence over the years, I’ve been unimaginably inspired by language.

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