Visual Indeterminacy


When or where do we become conscious of what we see?

Ambiguous cues – when a visual cue can be taken more than one way, the brain forces you to process the image one way. You are consciously aware of one way of seeing an image at a time. The image that you are consciously aware of changes based on your focus.

Visual agnosia – visual perception can often be better understood by looking at times when it goes wrong. For example, visual agnosia, where the ability to recognise visually presented objects is impaired – not as a result of sight but as a result of impaired cognition, affirming that the perceptual and recognition processes are separate.

We only have access to the world as we perceive it, however we are confronted with the difficulty that our perception is at times vulnerable to being misled, and may altogether be limited. For me, this raises two ideas, one – if there is a limit to our perceptive ability then it is humbling to consider the possibility that there is more than the physical world of material as we experience it. Conversely to the view of materialism, acknowledging that our perception is limited makes it difficult to rule out the possibility that there is existence outside of our field of perception. Secondly, as our perception is so easily misled and distorted, perhaps it is also important that we don’t take for granted the idea that the material world is as measurable as we often assume it is.

Visual indeterminacy – when an object or scene is full of visual information but defies visual determination.

With reference to Rob Pepperells work, we have been looking at visual indeterminacy – exploring how the brain attempts to make sense of visual stimuli, searching for meaning and objects in what it sees, even when none are actually present.


This part of the lecture was quite relevant to an area that I’m exploring in my own practice, not explicitly visual indeterminacy,  but the searching for a narrative – exploring how a set of unrelated and indeterminately made marks can be interpreted and developed into an image/narrative.



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