Friday, December 30, 2011

Intertwining of vision and movement

Bodily movement plays the crucial role in our visual perception, as is shown in the Held and Hein's experiment. If there is no movement, there might be just a 'blur', a chaotic mixture of visual sensations.

Related to this point, I'd like to quote Merleau-Ponty's text.

Everything I see is in principle within my reach, at least within reach of my sight, and is marked upon the map of the "I can". Each of the two maps is complete. The visible world and the world of my motor projects are each total parts of the same Being.
[Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964). The Primacy of Perception. Northwestern Univ. Press. p.162]

It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body--not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.

There is not a perception followed by a movement, for both form a system which varies as a whole.
[Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge. p.111]

The vision and the movement are deeply intertwined. As the self-actuated movement of the kitten developed the depth in vision, our movements of the eyes, the head, or the whole body transform the chaos of visual sensations into the adjusted visual perception with depth, forms, colors, and movements. It is not the mind's interpretation but bodily skills that give rise to changes in stimulation.

Vision is a kind of embodied skill. Maybe the painters are those who consciously practice this skill.