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  • Revolution of View: Visual Presentation under the Influence of Multidimensional Concepts
  • Zhu Feng (bio)

The ultimate aim of artistic exploration is to explore the claim that objects are different from experience and beauty is just a by-product of the exploration. In other words, the truth in the eyes of each person may quite literarly not be the same. A typical example is that some art archaeologists attribute the artistic achievements of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne to their eye diseases.1 Saying this, however, is somewhat unreliable—just like we could not arbitrarily say that the world in the eyes of animals, who have a completely different physciological and optic nerve structure, is quite diferent from that of humans. This indicates that differences in the visual apparatus influence the viewing body’s mastery of the “contents” of the objects being viewed. Differences in visual apparatus will bring forth differences in the mastery of “content.” According to Edmund Husserl, “the object is not only the gathering or compounding of ‘contents.’ Actually, an object is more than its contents.”2 The viewed object does not only refer to the “objectivity” of objects but also to other matters, such as a piece of color block, a shape, and even a kind of feeling. The eyes of Cezanne could not focus, which enabled him see a truer world in perspective. Given the differences in how the world appears in relation to the viewing apparatus, we might well yearn for understanding the world through the eyes of insects, such as dragonflies, which must be interesting and beautiful.

1. Analysis of the Visual Logic of Viewing System

The differences in what we might call “view alteration” bring numerous possibilities for the re-presentation of arts. Seen from different angles, [End Page 109] in different moods, and with different perspectives, the same objects will appear differently to the viewer. Research shows that the brain nerves constitutive of our visual system work through cooperative and parallel processing, which means that each visual functional area works as a part of the whole. What is more, before being transferred to message storage faculty—the hippocampus, along the neuraxons—the visual messages have been edited and processed by the nerves, which is like the operation mode of a big enterprise: each department submits their reports to the president (new pallium), and after certain comparing, analyzing, and logical evaluation, the president (the brain) makes a conclusion (visual apperception) and gives orders to the body, resulting in movements and reactions.

Therefore, although the entire optical nervous system is involved in viewing, it does not mean that each message is explicitly reflected in apperception, just as the specific activites of all the common employees in a company are not reflected in the sense and description of the company. It is normal in our daily view that we “turn a blind eye” to the majority of the presented visual information. It is obvious that the evaluation of the brain, or the president, to continue with our company metaphor, may not be objective regarding each phenomenon, such as the vested policy of the enterprise (individual politics, religious beliefs, and the vested aesthetic view), the handling of examples of the same issues (visual experience), and the magnitude and credibility of each department. In the optical nerve cell message processing system, the message processing of different attributes of the visual target, such as its shape, position, color, and movement, belongs to different cortices. The special circumstances, including the state of the parts of the brain, either strong or shrinking, perhaps as the result of a brain injury, may influence the final judgment regarding the object. What is more, the mood state of the president, him or herself, is also crucial for visual judgment. That is why the visual apperception of the same object under different circumstances will yield quite different results.

In The Astonishing Hypothesis,3 Francis Crick gives some examples of brain injury that are relevant to this arguent. The first example is as follows: In a small traffic accident, an abstract painter lost the ability to distinguish color. However, his visual apperceptual ability to distinguish movements and shapes was enhanced. This example indicates that...


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pp. 109-116
Launched on MUSE
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