2009.01.06 19:00 - Seeing and embodiment

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    The GoC was not present at the session. It became a conversation between Threedee Shepherd and Myna Maven. Threedee is posting this log.


    Parts of that conversation that dealt mainly with technical issues of setting up SL preferences are not included here.



    Threedee Shepherd: Hello Myna


    Myna Maven: Hello.


    (technical material deleted here)

    Myna Maven: I've been doing some digital art the past few years. Used to do some web design. Still do on a volunteer basis mostly.


    Threedee Shepherd: What "kind/type/genre" of digital art do you do?


    Myna Maven: Hmmmm. A couple of different kinds. Mostly a sort of hyper-realism. But that's not all.


    Myna Maven: Were you always interested in art/graphics? Always an artist? Or was this something that evolved via your involvement in SL?


    Threedee Shepherd: I have worked in various aspects of the neuroscience of the visual system all my career. I got interested in how 3D graphics might be used about 5 years ago, when I moved into studying more cognitive aspects of vision.


    [2009/01/06 19:59]Myna Maven: "More cognitive aspects of vision"...y'know I wouldn't even begin to know the questions to ask. But I'd like to hear more.


    Threedee Shepherd: How does the brain process visual information and what kinds of constraints does that place on "seeing" as well as what special aspects of the scene is the brain tuned to? that type of thing.


    Myna Maven: As I said, it's even difficult for me to think of questions to ask.


    Myna Maven: There are too many.


    Myna Maven: And I wouldn't know what is really relevant.


    Myna Maven: For instance "what special aspects of the scene is the brain tuned to"...that is quite a conversation opener.


    Threedee Shepherd: Well, the real issue is, what interests you about the specific art you make


    Threedee Shepherd: At any one time, we only actively percdeive a small part of the thing we are looking at, that is focused on the fovea of oour retina. the brain fills in the rest based on prior visual experience and the way it deals with borders and patterns.


    Myna Maven: Right. I understand this.


    Threedee Shepherd: So, in a sense, what we see is not a simple representation of "what is out there" but instead is a highly filtered "image" of what we expect to see, based on what has been seen in the past and on the specific filters built into the visual parts of the brain.


    Myna Maven: Yes. Do you expect to be able to learn something more about this in SL? In your graphics work?


    Threedee Shepherd: Yes. Espoecially because SL CAN be projected in 3D with proper equipment, and that gives a host of ways to paly.


    Myna Maven: Do you anticipate what you may learn?


    Threedee Shepherd: Well, I am no longer doing intensive "research” But I am interested in the ways that movement, and the body overall interact with the visual scene that is perceived.


    Threedee Shepherd: There is a whole "field" that has developed in the last 10 years around the topic of "embodied cognition" if you google that term you can keep busy for weeks ^.^


    Myna Maven: I think I know where you're going with this. I was wondering about this while you were typing.


    Myna Maven: And I will Google it.


    Threedee Shepherd: My company is 3DE, LLC which expands to “3D Embodiment"


    Threedee Shepherd: There is now much good evidence that visual-based learning actually involves the "set" of the entire body that is providing context.


    Threedee Shepherd: This all relates to PaB, in terms of how we experience BEING


    Myna Maven: This is interesting.


    Myna Maven: I'm going to ask however if you could define the way in which you are using the word "set" above?


    Threedee Shepherd: Are you familiar with any of thekinds of "bodywork"?


    Myna Maven: You'll have to tell me a little. I may be acquainted but unaware.


    Threedee Shepherd: Anything from Rolfing to Yoga and Feldenkreis and Pilates. All of them have to do with the way we hold out muscles to achieve postures.


    Myna Maven: Oh yes. I do yoga.


    Threedee Shepherd: The postures relate to mindset and cognition, not just exercise


    Myna Maven: Indeed.


    Threedee Shepherd: So when a baby crawls, the head naturally swings left and right, and that is part of the "muscle" basis of knowing what left and right is.


    Threedee Shepherd: muscle knowing and learning


    Myna Maven: Ah. What of dyslexia?


    Threedee Shepherd: That's different. It is a known developmental deficit of certain parts of the temporal cortex.


    Myna Maven: I was just wondering when you were refering to a muscular basis in the knowledge of left and right.


    Threedee Shepherd: Well, it seems that right comes to "mean" the world changes "this way" when I turn my head right, and in this other visual way when I turn my head left.


    Threedee Shepherd: To me an interesting thought is that while someone like you who is an artist is doing art, you are not thinking of all this kind of stuff. Yet it is reflected in the final product in ways that can resonate with the viewer.


    Myna Maven: Hmmm. :) You'll have to tell me what exactly I'm not thinking. I think about many things, both directly and indirectly to do with what I'm working on.


    Threedee Shepherd: I suspect you are not paying specific atention to your muscles, to your posture and to the way the visual parts of the brain process the world.


    Myna Maven: Normally, no. But...one does think about posture...or I do...a kind of physical disposition in as much as how I am "set" interacting with what I'm working on, how I am working on it.


    Myna Maven: Interacting...or should I say having an effect. There is a whole body relationship between the artist and his or her art. Even digitally.



    Threedee Shepherd: do you choose "how I am set" overtly and consciously and purposely?


    Threedee Shepherd: I agree totally with "There is a whole body relationship between the artist and his or her art." that is part of what is meant by embodied cognition.


    Myna Maven: There can be times of this, yes. Sometimes it is a matter of reflection, remembering to reflect upon it, something inspiring one to reflect upon it.


    Myna Maven: And that can lead to a change in what one is doing at the moment.


    Myna Maven: Which is also a change in relation to the piece.


    Threedee Shepherd: That makes perfect sense to me. And I entertain the possibility that the actual result can resonate with similar body set it brings about in the viewer.


    Myna Maven: Yes. I was reading about the Friday experiments....do you think this same resonance with bringing about a similar body shape in the viewer can be found with....objects? I'm putting this not very well.


    Myna Maven: I'm also thinking in terms of forms as archetype.


    [2009/01/06 20:42]Threedee Shepherd: Yes, objects bring about affordances of their potential use and our expectations related to the object. so, something as simple as a ceramic teapot with a slightly unusual spout will bring up different resonances than a "normal" teapot, on the part of the viewer of it and the user of it.


    Threedee Shepherd: And yes archetype is a pattern. the brain is tuned to recognizing (or imposing) patterns to make sense of the world.


    Myna Maven: I'm going to enjoy reflecting on all this. :)


    Threedee Shepherd: :)


    Myna Maven: But now I have some things here wanting my attention and I better get going.


    Myna Maven: Really, I have enjoyed our talk.


    Threedee Shepherd: I have too. Goodnight.


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