blindspots

17Oct09

{Tim Hawkinson  Blindspot, 1991 Photomontage Collection of Tony and Gail Ganz Photograph courtesy Ace Gallery via}

I’ve seen this piece by Tim Hawkinson before, and have chuckled at its cleverness, but somehow missed the fuller profundity of it until recently.  The artist tracked down the parts of his body that he couldn’t see directly… his back, his face, the documentation of which is an eerie skinned animal effect.  Grotesque and honest.  (I couldn’t find a larger image, unfortunately.)

His simple description:

BLIND SPOTS The areas of my body which I could not directly see were defined by tracing the inner periphery of my visual field. The areas within these boundaries were assembled into a map of my body’s blind spots.

But it just became something totally transformative to me when I thought about it in terms of our fixed perspectives.  In an almost claustrophobic way, I was able, through Hawkinson’s illustration, to conceive of the ways that each of us our trapped in our own bodies… we’ll never see our own faces unless indirectly– a reflection in a mirror, a photograph.  If you peel it back a little further, even our “direct” sight is a highly mediated experience.  Our eyes pull in the reflected rays, translating the projection on the backs of our eyeballs into a complex set of neurological symbols.  In any case, it’s a picture to me of our limited perspective.  A physical, almost tangible way to admit to our blindspots in every area of life.

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One Response to “blindspots”

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