We've Got a Pair of Eyes…
Most animals rely on their sense of vision to cope with everyday life. Different species have differen t features of their eyes – birds have sided eyes that offer a 300 - degree field of vision without turning their head s; compound eyes of flies enable them to be incredibly sensitive to danger. For human beings , ours is called binocular vision : that is, we combine two images captured by each of our two eyes to form one complete image in our brain. Binocular vision enables us to form our sense of space by recognizing depth and three-dimensional objects. This is something born innate and we regard it as an ordinary part of life.
De/Re-structuring Binocular Vision
The “Optical Handlers” is an optical device that asks our two eyes to see separately. Its main idea is to work against the perceptual experience resulting from binocular vision, that is, two images becoming one on our mind-screen due to a pair of horizontally lined up eyes. The device wants to create an experience in which the human user sees two separate images at the same time without the natural process of combining them. In this way, what the left eye and right eye captures would be retained.
Two Eyes, Two Viewing Organs, Two Visual Channels
The “Optical Handlers” creates a situation in which two viewing organs preserve images as two sets of visual input. A special pair of binoculars, a goggles-like device, is created as the first part of the Optical Handlers project. In place of the normal lens for each eye, two mini-screens (of two mini-LCD monitors) are installed, each attached to a mini video camera, which is the second part of the Handlers. However, the cameras are not the replacement of the human eyes. They are not fixed in position or direction. They are mobile, and can move in any direction as they will be attached to two hands (or wrists) of the user, and the hands are free to move. This means one’s left and right eyes are filled with two different video images as the hands freely explore the space around.
Dislocated Vision: side-view, back-view, top-view and more…
The main point of the device is to free the eyes from being imprisoned in their fixed positions between our two shoulders in the front part of the head. The mobility of the hands, thus the cameras, separates the vision of the two eyes. How differently one will see is precisely what we want our users to experience in person. The key is that the user has to learn to cope with two simultaneous, separate visions that separate “seeing” (what I see) from “being there” (where I am). This is a highly unique learning and discovering process, so personalized that it cannot be generalized in writing.
The “Optical Handlers” is not a device that tries to simulate the vision of other species, but to explore mobile vision enhanced by inventive apparatus that helps us to discover our “visually defined” sense of space. The “Optical Handlers” reveal and re-direct our seeing habit: a normal human being does not have the ability to dislocate our eyeballs to widen our way of seeing, nor to exteriorize or mobilize our vision freely. In other words, our sense of space has always been dictated by our embodied vision.
Back to Lesson One: Let's learn how to walk…
Amazingly, by means of simple tools, transformation of senses becomes possible. Tool-driven vision enables human to see more and differently just like telescopes, magnifying lenses and so on have done. The “Optical Handlers” encourage the human hands to play a key role in manipulating what we know via what we see. It is also an experiment with the human body, as our sight and movement of hands and body are tied together. Eyes and hands are no longer used in their normal ways. They combine to guide the use of our body. The device, therefore, provide the player with the chance to understand their body and engage in space differently.