Tuesday, September 4, 2012


There's a new show on TV by this name. The details of each episode change, but the general idea of perception (as presented on the show) is unique. What do we think we see? Is it really what others see? Can we trust the obvious? Or is there more?

I have some experiences with seeing something and thinking that it is something else in that first moment of viewing. I've often found that first impressions are often wrong. And yet, seeing is so much more. Smithsonian recently had an issue with three pieces about seeing and invisibility. In one study, researchers found that if observers were asked to count the number of times a basketball was passed among players, they totally missed the gorilla (fake) that walked through the scene partway through the study. Another short piece explains the art work of Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who has an assistant paint him so that he blends almost perfectly into his surrounding. I've seen some of his art before. It's a very compelling statement about invisibility, about perception, about seeing.

This weekend we went up to Swiss Days in Heber. In one of the booths, an artist sold photos of words--but the letters were bits of things in our environment--the curve of a railing, the notch in a tree. The artist saw in these elements, letters. And from these he created words that had meaning. It fascinated me because it showed me a different way to see.

We had parked in a field outside of town and ridden a shuttle into the fair. As we got into the car to come home, I noticed this tree.
It looks like the tree has dark leaves, but all of them are birds. When we shut our doors, they all flew up and around, like a big wind swirling leaves through the field. Then they settled back into the tree, again looking like black leaves.

In The Little Prince, we read that it is only with the heart that we can see clearly. In another book, Antoine de Saint Exupery says this: A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. 

How often do I see without seeing?

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it interesting what we "see" when we have preconceived notions, such as the birds looking like the leaves. I often think of these things as I walk and discover that something isn't what I thought it was when I get up to it. Good thinking to ponder.