From the field research trip to the Middlewood Trust, I developed a set of goggles with a small hole and slot apertures. Participants report different perceptions of time and space, and of sound and distances. I thought I had walked for a great distance, only to find I had only moved a few meters. One participant spoke of having ‘microscope eyes’ and how ‘the closer you get to things, the less you can see of them’ focussing and depth of field also become more apparent. Here is the extract from my experience:
“Seeing through the small aperture also had the effect of making things seem like an old movie [grainy and soft-edged]. After wearing these for a while, I could hear others around me but it was extremely hard to tell where they were, and specifically at what distance they were from me. Without the full visual information. I found myself getting distracted by the sounds, trying to work out what direction they were coming from, then finding myself disorientated. Even though I could clearly see details of the soil and grass at my feet, there was no context for this information. Building an overall picture of the path or the space around me was almost impossible. For a while, I was walking and thought someone was beside me, when in fact they were at some distance ahead, beside someone else. I was convinced of a presence beside me [See ‘phantom presence phenomena’ as reported in sensory deprivation and the new robot arm experiments]. My perception of distance travelled seemed to change as well. I was always surprised at how little I had moved between sessions.” From Fieldwork / Night walk
This activity will be developed more over the next few months.