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October 24, 2006

Katy Shepherd's


Vitreous Humour Project

In this age of "high definition" I have taken a contrary interest in technology's failings, for example the way certain camera film has colour biases, scratches and glitches on the surface / distortions of brightness and contrast / flickering / dropped frames when a computer plays back. Consequently I have developed a fascination in the parallel limitations of an artist as a fallible mortal, in particular the inadequacies of memory and eyesight.

Is it a common held belief that an artist is born with the talent to see the world differently to others? - more vividly perhaps, a heightened experience? - with more insight? - they are more visually aware? - they are gifted? They are able to see beauty and design where others see the everyday? An onerous responsibility I think. What are the public's expectations of an artist?

The Vitreous Humour project will allow people to explore these beliefs (myths?) by enabling them to view their own images through the eyes of an artist - my eyes.

I have particles in my eyes called floaters that move around in the fluid of my eyes - the vitreous humour. They are very common, many people have them but of course each person's are individual to themselves. "Floaters" are the shadows cast on the retina of the microscopic structures in the vitreous humour. Some of these may be due to condensations of vitreous collagen which degenerates with age - creating increasing numbers of floaters. These may look like specks, worms, single or clumped, hair - like, forms. Others may be remnants of debris from the hyaloid artery that nourishes the eye of the foetus but starts to disintegrate by the seventh month of development. It disappears by birth bar a small amount of debris inside the eye.

Floaters are easier to see if you lie on a bed and look at a diffusely illuminated ceiling or a bright sky. However they are constantly falling away from the centre of the eye so can only be seen clearly for a brief moment. If your eyes move more quickly the floaters will flick around your eye, rushing to keep up with the movement but always slightly behind or overshooting it. This flickering movement gave rise to the latin name - muscae volitantes - fluttering flies.

I have attempted to create my own elusive shadows as digital entities. "Vitreous Humour" the film is an animation of my eyes examining , in close up, a family snap of myself as a new born baby (taken 1961). The photo appears as if seen through my eyes. It is a self portrait - of sorts.

Secondly there is a program to download that enables you to view your own images as if through my eyes. It will certainly be a unique vision but whether this will enhance or degrade the image I couldn't say.

Posted by jo at October 24, 2006 10:02 AM