29 April 2017

VISUAL DYNAMICS III: THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT


After familiarising ourselves with the outer structure of the eyes and clarifying some of their respective functions, we are almost ready to travel beneath the outer surface to detail some of the properties and transformations that occur within the organs themselves.  But before we do that, it would be best to say something about the light signal that is being processed through the eyes so that we might better contextualise one of the key aspects of the processes we are uncovering.

Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum (EM), a form of radiation that is emitted from sources such as our nearby Sun.  The specific particles that light is made of are called 'photons.'  As electromagnetic radiation emits from our Sun and makes contact with environmental subjects on Earth, a certain portion of that radiation is absorbed into the structure itself and the remaining signal is reflected off the surface of the object.  The reflected photons are the signal that pours into our eyes and feeds deeper into the brain for processing into a rendering of the world.



The boons of the Sun are part of the reason why we are even here in the first place, and the stars themselves, are effectively the eyes of the cosmos, elucidating the phenomenal structures in the universal domain.  With no light source from a nearby star, not only would the organic life (as we recognise it) not have formed at all, but the biological sensitivities of any potential light-impoverished organisms would never have encountered the existential conditions in the environment to accommodate a visual organ of any kind.  In fact, our entire understanding of what constitutes organic life is derived from a star-based ecosystem.  Stars are the parents of eyes in the truest sense: without the experiential conditions of a light source, there would be no pragmatic reason to incorporate it into an evolutionary response; one naturally concludes from the other.  This illustrates that there is a symphonious exchange of influence between phenomena and causality.  Such is the relationship between parts and the whole.

With no light to radiate upon the masks of the Earth, we would exist in a sightless, and therefore, artistically impoverished existence.  Vision is certainly a consequence of the organic systems of the body and the star systems that have inspired its growth and the sensory information that is the consequential offspring of this cosmic affair, transforms into an outgrowth of the body as realised creative action.  This information is truly the sustenance of the human mind; it is the reason why we have advanced to where we are now; it is why this arrangement took place between us; it is how the technology was formed to facilitate this transmission, and it is certainly the subject through which all works of art have been synthesised within the dark networks of bodily activity, only to spill out of its organism, fawn-like as another consequence of this cosmic-evolutionary conversation.  If eyes are the natural consequence of stars, then information is the natural consequence of vision, and visionary information is the primary medium that informs the creation of all works of art.

Light is an information highway.  Visionary experience and the information it captures from the natural world are the creative building blocks of life that constitute the formation of a new realisation within the brains' interpretation of the world.  Stars and the organs that intimate with their transmissions, converse to harvest the solar signals that radiate from the sky, converting that signal into the new information that later spills into the natural world as newly created systems of language, technology and art.

Without light, there is no artistic subject.  All works of art are dependent on light to realise their aesthetic effect and to relay their subject matter into the nervous systems of other human vessels.  If vision is the primary medium of all artists, then light surely is the original informer in that medium.  The illumination of terrestrial subjects, organic or man-made, accommodates the nervous internalisation of those phenomenal constituents within the human body, that subsequently, informs the new hybrids that are creatively reconfigured from the skin of nature.  Vision is the brains' primary when it comes to information acquisition, counting on the interplay between light and shade to render the information landscape, which in turn, generates the internal maps, or might we say, 'masks' of reality.

The light itself is a multitudinous element.  The eyes of humans and other life forms on Earth have evolved sensitively to EM radiation with the human eye being particularly sensitive to the range we know as visible light.  Certain creatures can receive narrower or wider spectrums of visible light than the human range can accommodate, such as sensitivity to the ultraviolet spectrum that is inaccessible to our optics without additional technological assistance.



Colour sensitivity is also at variance throughout the animal kingdom.  Human beings possess three types of colour receptors within their eye structure that grants us access to the channels of red, green and blue light.  Out of only these three channels, we are able to fluctuate within a great variance of potential colour ranges and there are animals that can perceive even more.  One such creature; the Mantis Shrimp (above), possesses sixteen colour receptive modules in its eyes compared to the human three.  This means that the animal can potentially receive colour ranges that are completely imperceptible, (and unknowable) to human beings.  Despite the bizarre intrigues of this creature, we must also consider that light synthesis and light interpretation do not merely cover colour dynamics, we must also take into account definition, depth perception, and other prerequisites necessary for effective visual rendering; not to mention that the light signal in this instance, is also being processed within a far less sophisticated brain than a human variant and that the signal is being refracted through the element of water before it reaches the optics of the shrimp.  So, although the medium of light remains the same, the variance of its modulation by the respective conditions in the environment and the peculiar organics of the individual lifeform can be radically different, resulting in a potential plethora of 'worlds' revealed to the each unique species.  What an education like this can offer is an imaginative window into the range through which different life forms have adapted to effectively 'paint with light' to create their realities.  

This also illuminates a very important feature regarding the dynamics surrounding what organisms interpret as 'real.'  If what exists comes into being for each one of us (human or nonhuman alike) through a conversation between its dynamics and our brain activity, the idea that we could have exact 'knowledge' of that subject as anything other than an extension of ourselves is untenable.  Every subject that we perceive is rendered as reconstituted light and matter both externally and within our own systems, meaning that the subjects we perceive are made in the image of our own organics as much as they are idiosyncratic to their own nature.  As much as our habituated responses might imply, we do not perceive reality incarnate; we experience a symphonic synthesis between radiation, peculiar form and the insemination of our own instrument within the form itself.

It is truly a brilliant chain of metamorphosis we have here.  We have our source: the star, emitting electromagnetic radiation that is travelling through space, eventually making contact with material subjects on Earth, then absorbing and refracting off those subjects into the systems of an organism which modulates and synthesises that signal within its organics to produce a visual-conceptual construct that we call 'imagery;' that construct then following to influence and shape the behaviour of that very organism.

When we bring this chain of events into perspective, we realise just how incredible the facets of our existence truly are, especially when viewed within a cultural context as artists and appreciators of the works of creative consequence.  This arena of modulated radiation is the plane where our practice is facilitated, and the illuminated realm where the stimulating power of art emerges to invade the systems that were sensitively organised to accommodate its effects.  Opera, drama, idolatry, religious extasy, propaganda, all of these systems would neither exist nor mean anything were it not for a star, its signals, and the organics to harness them into synthesised results that shape the action of the sensitive organisms beneath its sway.  Surely, this chamber of dynamic metamorphosis is like none other in the natural world.  The way that we, as organisms, have moulded our unique response to the consequences of these cosmological conditions is the true testament to the power of visual dynamics.

Now we have familiarised ourselves with the cosmic element of our craft, we can now return to deepen our inquiry within the organic structure of the eyes where light meets with the internal intricacies of the organs before its journey into some of the darkest and oldest regions of the brain.

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