blind eye project
The project is based in New York City. It produces and promotes electronic media whose goal is to subtract stimulation, thus reversing media logic. More on the project's mission.
the high concept gift
The "exoptic fields" video, the "blind heat" video, the Utne Reader "video to end all videos" ad, and related undertakings are all part of the blind eye project. The project sells radical "art" videos as novelty gift items with mass appeal. More on this.
reversing media logic
You may understand media reversal and deflection by comparing it to sound wave cancellation. One way to understand media reversal and deflection is to compare it to sound wave cancellation, where, as in a bath tub, equal and opposite waves neutralize each other leading to still waters, or silence in the case of sound. The action, its process, removes stimulation. More on media reversal.
It all got started by willy mal under the title "ambient revolution" in 1985. More on origins.
Collaborators have recently included New York-based Benton-C Bainbridge, Bob Gill, Joe Mendelsson, Gen Ken Montgomery, insert and Eric Solstein. Oakland, CA-based Matt Dibble was an early collaborator. Collaborators page.
the blind eye manifesto
Let me tell you how the daylight soothed our eyes. All night we tell you how we fought and . . . Complete manifesto.
blind eye project mission:
The project seeks to promote techniques for benign sensory negation-"deflection"-in electronic media. Such deflective media strive to subtract all stimulation. And by so reversing the fundamental principle of nearly all media-attraction/stimulation-, the project seeks to provoke radical departures in thinking and design on par with those that followed the development of expressionist painting and the discovery of microbial life.
In this regard the project is old fashioned and like any previous avant-garde in proposing to flip Art and Media on their heads, as these have been understood throughout human history. It advocates a complete aesthetic inversion that might lead to a practical, even decorative, liberatory aesthetic for our time.
Thus, through mass-market sales, the blind eye project seeks to provoke artists, media professionals as well as ordinary consumers to think outside the box about the box, and media in general, by reversing media logic.
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novelty gift as high concept
In many regards this is an art project. But one that's most eager to sell videotapes as novelty gifts to non-art-world people. In fact, the laughter and understandings or confusions that arise from such gift exchanges are the essence of the project's public presentation. High concept as mass market gift item without condescending irony.
These videos work best as a gift because when you personally hand over one of these videos to someone, you emphasize its intention. Which is primarily "deflection." As in, "Here, check this out you lazy couch-potato. It's actually tv made-on purpose-to make you look away!" That's why the exoptic fields box is like a greeting card. Because inciting conversation about media deflection and reversal is more important than the video content itself.
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The ambient revolution idea sprang from willy mal's enthusiasm for the rapid changes that occurred in TV, including the news, during the 1980s. The striking progression of sensation-driven TV programming promised to undermine TV's authority in public life and, under the transformations wrought by the ongoing ambient revolution, to transform TV into nothing more or less than an ambient emotion emitter with a selection dial.
This revolution required no agitators. Over the years the idea evolved in correspondence and conversation among a small group of movie-media producers and intellectuals.
In the mid-1990s, mal proposed marketing videos called "look away TV" as an extension of the ambient revolution, but he found no backers. That work on "look away TV" became the foundation of "the blind eye project." But the blind eye project went beyond the ambient revolution by recognizing contemporary movie-media producers as the greatest seducers of all time. And by realizing that this continuous seduction in media called for its opposite. The original "look away TV" recognized this idea of reversal but not its implications.
Then, in 1997, after a secret all-night conference of self-described media druids and moguls in a San Francisco mansion over the Pacific, willy mal formulated a critical departure in the blind eye manifesto. It was useless to deny the joys of perfectly attractive and diverse media. So why resist? Why? Because from inside the all absorbing mediasphere there is no way to observe it, no critical outpost from which to check its progress. Therefore, to gain such critical distance the blind eye project advocated total media reversal. A complete media logic flip.
In early 2000, willy mal set up
blind eye media, llc, to produce the following:
o An example of purely deflective media and a new word to describe it-the exoptic fields video
o A serious and funny gift item with broad appeal.
o An example of deflective media with added stimulation, the "blind heat" video made by Benton C.
o Featuring "exoptic fields" in the TRANSCINEMA festival at the HERE art gallery in New York City end of November 2000.
o The blind eye tour featuring deflective media, the first event is planned for February of 2001 in New York City.
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The "ambient revolution" was also a response to spirited mid-1980s debates about "public interest" television. The revolution saw TV evolving into a kind of pure emotion emitter with a selection dial that viewers could use like a pump for an undiluted emotion-altering drug. And that made reforming television to serve the public interest futile. In this analysis, TV was simply not suited for education or serious politics. Just consider TV coverage of recent, year 2000 national political conventions.
In the ambient revolutionary way of thinking, the so-called MTV-ization of TV and increasingly sensational TV news reporting were good for a democratic society because these trends undermined the authority of a medium that is inherently bad as a forum for analyzing and debating important social questions. That's why the ambient revolution needed no agitators. "Natural" market pressures to pull in larger audience shares and profit-driven changes in technology have been demolishing serious TV for twenty years.
The blind eye project makes no intellectual excuses for inaction. It advocates and carries out media reversal as a radical departure from the expanding and heaving and fabulous media monstrosity that's on the verge of encompassing more and more of humanity's daily experience.
With media reversal, the blind eye project flips the idea of media upside down, entirely breaking away from the stalemate over "good" versus "bad" media. But not breaking away in order to "kill your TV"-though that's always a good option. Instead, the blind eye project advocates an active media position entirely outside existing media frameworks. But one that makes useful electronic media. One where media's first objective is to SUBTRACT stimulation in the visual field, usually by deflection.
Media reversal, or negation, pops the media issue out of the conventional media loop. Outside, where the project works to inspire an aesthetic movement. A movement with new pleasures. A movement that's tough enough to disrupt and resist the electronic media juggernaut that's now enveloping human life around the globe for better or worse.
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One speculative consequence of media negation, or subtracting stimulation, can be to heighten the experience of remaining sensations. In other words, media reversal proposes an aesthetics and tools that promote experiences OTHER than those offered by the media themselves! That is the reversed media logic payoff.
reversing media logic compared to sound wave cancellation
One way to think about media reversal and deflection is to compare them to sound wave cancellation. In helicopter headphones, noise is canceled by reproducing inverted sound waves that match the cockpit's loud ambient sounds. This works the same way waves sometimes meet in water and suddenly go flat behind passing boats. Waves with energy pulling in opposite directions cancel each other out. Though light waves or particles that stimulate the sensation of vision may act similar to sound waves, this analogy is not perfect. To literally cancel what comes from a TV or movie screen would require anticipating and broadcasting equal and opposing light waves simultaneously.
The blind eye project doesn't attempt to literally cancel light waves, but this ideal of perfectly negating the screen is central to the project. As is the idea that by negating a the field of visual stimulation, all other stimulation might be heightened.
Copyrighted material in the project is owned by blind eye media, llc, which permits unlimited non-commercial reproduction of anything available at this web site.
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