last update: dez_2008














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blindspot is an interdisciplinary research project about perception, developed by Herwig Turk and Dr. Paulo Pereira. The project aims at investigating perception in a broad and global sense, as well as its circumstances, its determinants, and its contingencies. The proceedings in the laboratories for research in vision sciences are translated into different settings, thereby creating a meta-language that crosses the traditional boundaries between science and art. At the same time, a new heterotopic space for experimentation is created where objects, gestures, and language acquire new dimensions having been separated from their supporting contexts. The approach used by the authors of blindspot adopts the formal structure of a research project. The starting point is the hypothesis that science represents an imperfect means whereby perception is used as a privileged means to assess reality (“an improved means to an unimproved end”, Thoreau)

The project's approach is based on the long-term exchange of scientific and artistic knowledge, and methodology. “Perception is the process whereby sensory stimulation is translated into organized experience”, Encyclopaedia Britannica). Vision sciences tend to focus on the process of sensory stimulation: from the eye to the brain or from the photon to the image. Anatomical, physiological, neurological, and biochemical approaches can convey the means to gather great amounts of information that agglomerate in large volumes and treaties. However precise, a vast amount of information is neglected or is actively translocated to a place outside of the laboratory by the application of scientific procedures. What remains is contamination from the outside world, largely the subject matter of this interdisciplinary project. What remains outside of the controlled laboratory environment questions the cultural context of visual perception as it includes social and cultural components.

Individual perceptions cannot be considered, or observed as isolated, but rather as something that is distributed within group structures (persons, objects, environments). One perceives oneself and our everyday environment through the reflections and reactions of others. Each and every single person is connected to a floating system of information and a clear line cannot be drawn separating individuals from others, nor from their own surroundings.
Science aims at a universal language supported by inertia referentials. Scientific language is highly coded and the distinction between words, concepts, and the corresponding entities in the “real world” is often blurred by the complex system of references that are used. Scientific systems of reference include necessarily established conventions comparable to GMT (Greenwich mean time) or the null meridian, in an attempt to identify standards that make measurements possible and comparisons universal.

One of the main goals in this project is to identify calibration standards and points of reference that are critical in influencing individual perception. Once such points of reference are identified they can be easily manipulated by deconstructing its own foundation and by displacing them into a different context/setting. This approach questions the fallibility of scientific conventions and highlights the importance and contribution of social and individual constellations to what is perceived as a scientific truth or a scientific fact. More importantly, the founding principles and corner stone of the scientific method are man-made and become less abstract as the project emphasizes and brings to center-stage such structural elements that are both invisible and – thought of as - infallible in daily scientific routines.

This goal can be accomplished through a variety of procedures, including the dislocation of both the observer and the object of observation to different scenarios where common references are no longer obvious and the elements that support perception are often absent. Experimentally, this creates a field where different categories of knowledge meet, revealing the interdisciplinary nature of the project.

To pursue the goals of the project a number of different and complementary approaches have been used. These range from video installations, photography, performance and laboratory experimentation.

Paulo Pereira & Herwig Turk 2007


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