My favorite thought provocateur these days (actually “these days” is actually now several months) is Juhani Pallasmaa, architect and author of The Eyes of the Skin. Here are a few more of his insights about seeing, the dominance of the eye, modes of vision. (Other great quotes from Pallasmaa that I have posted here: Focused vs Peripheral Vision; Inside and Outside, at the Same Time; Mind and Eye;The Eye in the Hand; Human Rootedness; Fully Engaged; Sensory Intimacy, in Art and in Architecture.)

Perhaps, freed of the implicit desire of the eye for control and power, it is precisely the unfocused vision of our time that is again capable of opening up new realms of vision and thought. the loss of focus brought about by the stream of images may emancipate the eye from its patriarchal domination and give rise to a participatory and empathetic gaze…

The haptic experience seems to be penetrating the ocular regime again through the tactile presence of modern visual imagery. In a music video, for instance, or the layered contemporary urban transparency, we cannot halt the flow of images from analytic observation; instead we have to appreciate it as an enhanced haptic sensation, rather like a swimmer senses the flow of water against his/her skin…

David Michael Levin [author of “The Opening of Vision”] differentiates between two modes of vision: ‘the asssertoric gaze’ and ‘the aletheic gaze.’ In his view, the assertoric gaze is narrow, dogmatic, intolerant, rigid, fixed, inflexible, exclusionary and unmoved, whereas the aletheic gaze, associated with the hermeneutic theory of truth, tends to see from a multiplicity of standpoints and perspectives, and is multiple, pluralistic, democratic, contextual, inclusionary, horizontal and caring. As suggested by Levin, there are signs that a new mode of looking is emerging.

The sense of how water feels on the skin when we are swimming. Saying yes to the “multiple, pluralistic, democratic, contextual, inclusionary, horizontal and caring” gaze. Nuggets to carry today, in the studio and out.

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