Beyond the Visual
"How we understand the concept of vision usually refers to the sense of vision. Visual perception is our basic way of knowing and orientating ourselves in space. But what if we reject visual cognition and let other senses learn about reality?
We made a series of experiments based on rejection of visual cognition. We focused on seeing our surrounding with the help of sounds that we could hear. The attempt to orientate in the urban space with blindfolded eyes was the first collision with how much our orientation in space depends on sight. Hearing, touch, and smell usually complement the picture. However, we have focused on what sound tells us about space. The picture combined with the sound gains a completely new value. The sound can strengthen its message, supplement it. Can you however understand space only on its basis? We do not use hearing intuitively to understand space but it is the mind that always participates in our cognitive process. Visions come to us all the time but we deliberately decide whether we want to receive them. We close and open our eyes. We cannot resign from the reception of sounds. They are an integral part of our cognitive process. In order to be more open to auditory cognition, we recorded sound scenes in the city, checking which sounds and how they allow us to understand the space around us. It turns out that the sound can describe the space in a completely different way than the picture. When we are in a closed room, the end of our visual cognition is the wall. Usually, we do not see what is next or we have only minor premises about it. The sound from this closed room can go far beyond the physical boundaries of the partitions. So we were looking for an acoustic horizon for sounds in the space in which we stayed.
Hence the suggestion to analyze our vision using only sounds. As a starting point, we listened to grrawe (composition by Gerriet K. Sharma) with our eyes covered. During the listening session, we paid attention to how the sound creates the space and whether we are able to understand it with the help of where the sounds come from, what intensity they have. Sometimes they reminded of the sounds we have heard before. Then, based on a musical piece, we tried to go back to the visual and define the spaces that we heard with the help of images. We started with short descriptions and sketches that led us to creating models of virtual reality space. Each VR scene we created is a visual interpretation of the sounds we heard. At the presentation the audience could experience the scenes we have created by entering the VR world with VR goggles."
Above: description of workshop investigations by the participants.