The Spirituality of Perception

OCULI    (oku-li) {L.} genitive and plural of oculus the organ of vision  

NOKIA SINGAPORE ART 2001INSTALLATION AT THE SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM GALLERY 10

CATEGORIES:  TECHNOLOGY / SPACE / IDENTITY  

 

CONCEPTUAL DESCRIPTION:

The artist has his eyes pharmacologically dilated, and the inner anatomies of his eyes photographed. The artist shows the audience the appearances of his inner eyes in fine detail, on large scale, and in aesthetic form. The images are lit by light-box, preserved by disc-shaped matt white wood casing, and engaged by the spatial elements of the gallery.

The artist is trained in Ophthalmology eye medicine and surgery. The artist, as a doctor, views the inner aspects of eyes of his patients to assess the health of the eye, to detect disease, and to monitor treatment.  

By showing the anatomies of his own inner eyes, the artist explores the myth that the eyes are windows to the soul, explores the eyes as organs of sensory reception and perception, and contrasts the conventional mental image of the eyes as aesthetically and expressively defined by the cornea, pupil, conjunctiva, eyelids, and eyelashes, with the emerging mental image of the eyes as scientifically defined by the retina, optic disc, blood vessels, and the vitreous humor.

The inner eyes embody a quiet spirituality, as if these delicate but powerful sense organs were the temple of the soul. The large scale images of the inner eyes imbue a monumental and sacred presence. The images of the inner eyes emanate light as if divinity and positive energy resides. 

The golden hue of the inner eyes endow warmth, and the light projection of the images, aided by the blending of the white rims with the white walls of the galleries, confer lightness in weight and suspension in space.

If there may be in us a god, a holy-spirit, or a life-force, we can contemplate the inner eyes being a natural place of rest. If there may be in us, a void between something and nothing, or an emptiness or a fullness, we can contemplate  the inner eyes being the focus.

To many of us, we are convinced the world exists, because we see the world with our eyes. We act differently, because we perceive reality differently. There is a spiritual and an analytical element to this perception, but the artist believes the spiritual element is dominant.

The blood vessels suggest an organ in the human body. The pairing of the images suggest a paired organ. The circular configuration suggest the eye.

The images display the posterior pole of the inner eye. The cherry-red spot is the fovea, and the area enclosed by the blood vessels is the macula. The fovea, a tiny locus in the vast field of the retina, is the site of greatest concentration of photoreceptors and largely responsible for fine visual discrimination. The blood vessels nourish the inner eye with life-giving nutrients, and cleanse the inner eye from toxic metabolites. The white spot is the optic disc, a  tunnel where the optic nerve and blood vessels enter the eye. The optic disc connects the eye to the brain. The optic disc, where photoreceptors are absent, is the blind spot. The two eyes work in tandem, receiving slightly dissimilar stimuli which are resolved by the mind to produce binocular single vision.

In real-life, light is captured from the external world to the eyes, in the artwork, light is projected from the eyes to the external world; the observing apparatus has become the observed. 

 


ROLES IN PROCESS:  

Medical doctor

Retinal photographer

Project co-ordinator

Digital image enhancing specialist and printer

Light-box builder

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:

Paired circular chip-board encased matt white wooden casing lightbox durachrome transparencies displays are protected by circular plexiglass sheets. See diagrams I and II.

WALL PANEL CONSTRUCTION

Specially constructed chips board wall panels shall be circularly cavitated to encase and support the two light-box displays. The surface of the light box plays shall be flush with the surface of the chip board panels. When encountered frontally, the audience can see a circumferential matt white rim running around the displays, that separates it from the panels. These chip board panels shall be painted white, and blend in with the white walls of the galleries. In order to guide the audience towards the paired durachrome transparency displays of eyes, the chip board construction shall be triangular-shaped in horizontal cross-section, and positioned at the corner of the gallery, where the two walls meet at a right angle. The effect is that the two walls, running from a distance, converge and blend into the chipboard panels which carry the paired durachrome transparency displays, which are in turn tilted at a slight angle towards each other. The running walls demarcate a conical space, which serves to channel the audience towards the durachrome displays. The space in front of the panels and durachrome transparency displays shall be at least 8 metres. This is the allow the displays to possess a monumental and sacred presence. This space shall not be lit by sunlight or artificial lights, save for the light-box that projects the image. See diagram III. 

 

 

DIMENSIONS of displays:

Paired

Depth: 8 cm

Width and Length: 140 cm diameter

 

MATERIALS:

Pharmacological agent: 1% Tropicamide

Specialised photography apparatus and film

Wood matt-white casing

Plexiglass sheet

Transparency

Lights, wirings, switch

Chipboard panel

Matt white Paint