designed the "exoptic fields" video based on aspects of visual optics,
neurophysiology, and visual psychology. Optics and neurophysiology
involve the brightness, colors, orientation, and the motion of visual
stimuli capture the attention of the viewer. Visual perception also
involves the active participation of the perceiver, her active exploration
of the environment, her psychology. This last fact makes addressing
visual psychology the key to successful visual deflection.
will find some of the principles of human vision that we employed
to make the "exoptic fields" video viewers' deflect attention from
transformed into neuronal signals by the photoreceptors. They are
of two types, the cones and the rods, but only the cones mediate
diurnal and high acuity color vision. The cones alone occupy the
center of the retina. The cones and rods are made up of different
photopigments. These are red, green or blue, according to the light
frequency they can capture. Their repartition in the retina is well-described.
The red and green cones are localized in the center, with around
the less numerous blue cones organized into a ring (see diagram
imply that the light frequency that reflects the object observed
will influence the way we need to focus on this object. Thus, the
"exoptic fields" video has adapted its color scheme, blue and yellowish
tones, to target the most peripheral photoreceptors.
and motions in "exoptic fields"
Once the light pattern strikes the retina, visual signals pass through
the axons of the retinal ganglion cells that form the optic nerve,
to neurons that project directly into the cortical visual areas.
At that point
the visual inputs are separated into different components that are
analyzed locally in specialized regions of the cortex. The identification
of an object as well as its spatial position will derive from this
analysis (Zeki, 2000). The visual system is most sensitive to well
contrasted colors, sharply defined contours and oriented edges (Wade,
1991). To lure the eyes away from the center of interest, we based
our approach on opposite characteristics, i.e. smooth contours,
blurred lines, undefined shapes forming an horizontal undulating
surface that move toward the edges of the screen. Advertisers have
extensively used the fact that fast and sudden motions of the object(s)
of interest converging to the center of the TV capture the movements
of our eyes and our undivided attention (Hillstrom and Yantis, 1994;
Egeth and Yantis, 1997; Corbetta and Shulman, 1998). The "exoptic
fields" video has therefore refined all movement to create very
slowly undulating contours and colors that withdraw to the edges
of the screen.
psychology of figurative element, the brick wall, in "exoptic fields"
The overall picture is finally created by combining the operations
of the different specialized regions into a unified visual image.
If how the brain does this is still not understood, the processes
of consciousness and memory are thought to play an essential role
The brick wall in the "exoptic field" acts to neutralize one's visual
psychology, ones reflections on: "What will happen next." Meanings
commonly associated with a brick wall will ideally lead quickly
to dis-interest on the part of the observer across many human cultures.
Corbetta, M., and Shulman, G. L.., Human cortical mechanism of visual
attention during orienting and search, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond.
B, 1998, 353:1353-1362.
E., and Yantis S., Visual attention: Control, representation, and
time course, Ann. Rev. Psychol., 1997, 48:269-97.
P., and Yantis S., Visual perception and attentionnal capture, Percept.
Psychophys., 1994, 55(4):399-411.
D., Visual intelligence: How we create what we see. Norton, 2000.
An introduction: visual perception, Michael Swanston, N.Y. & London,
An exploration of art and the brain, Oxford University Press, 2000.