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Seeing with Eyes Closed

Wooden construction, polystyrene panel, white LED lights, micro controller, pillow. 1.22 x 0.6 x 1.1 m

Simultaneously illuminating LED lights are programmed to flicker at a frequency between 12 and 50 hertz for a duration of 3 minutes and 18 seconds. Flash duration of 6 milliseconds is constant while pause duration varies. Visitors are invited to sit on the floor in front of the object and close their eyes. They are exposed to flashing light which produces quasi-hallucinatory visual experience of flowing images behind closed eyes.

The installation Seeing with Eyes Closed concerns the visual experience of flowing images induced by stroboscopic light behind closed eyes. Being aware that the seen images have no foundation in external reality, one experiences them as hallucinatory. This ‘conscious quasi-hallucinating’ challenges our sense of the real in its alternation and its permeability with the imaginary. Each person’s experience differs from that of others, and each ascribes different dimensions to the perceived space in constant transformation. With the unpredictability of visual responses to light stimuli, participation in the art installation raises the question of subjectivity and authorship. The final “work” happens in our body and depends on our experience as well as on the boundary between the public and intimate space.

The installation Seeing with Eyes Closed is realized within the research project of the same title with neuroscientist Ida Momennejad, initiated by Alexander Abbushi, in collaboration with the Association of Neuroesthetics.

Installation view: Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

Seeing with Eyes Closed publication (pdf)

Images happen by Elena Agudio