Festival Vision: Sight Distorting Style

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 7.52.56 AMLooking at the world clearly is soooooo last festival season. To really enhance their visual experiences and create a style statement, some are turning toward glasses that distort rather than clarify vision.

According to a piece at YourEDM one new spectacle option created by Hungarian student Bence Agoston is customizable and 3D-printed with lenses that create psychedelic visuals that can enhance raves and other shows with light features.

“Invented as part of a first-year school assignment, his MOOD glasses have the potential to invade the dance music culture and become the newest and coolest way to experience the stages’ light shows.”

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The site behance.net notes that the glasses feature multiple layers that can be adjusted to adapt your viewing experience to the situation. With six lenses that can be rotated, the eyewear features red, green, and blue patterns that are inspired by visual effects. The glasses can even be worn with clear lenses, but what’s the fun in that?

“…The individual patterns may be varied with others, so the number of variations – depending on the number of lenses – can be vast…Because every color filters the incoming lights differently, and the patterns can overlap each other, or leave blank fields, the new vision is completely random and twisted. MOOD was designed with the goal of making the experience of music listening totally complete. It can assign optional vision to the feeling by the psychedelic music.”

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Another way to skew your view is through kaleidoscope glasses, such as Holes by hOles. Splitting the light through crystal prisms, these mind benders have been seen on the likes of Lady Gaga. It should be noted, however, that these glasses are not recommended for street wear. The company notes: http://h0les.com/#travelGuide

“These are conceptual accessories. They aren’t sensible. But hopefully you are. So we are not liable for any injuries or damages caused by use of these products.”

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For those who want a cool effect for their festival fun, Auroravizion makes single, double, and spiral diffraction glasses that enhance the visual experience with a starburst of the rainbow bursting from the visual center of sight. Auroravizion sites an inspiration of the skies for the party wear that is sometimes called fireworks, rainbow, or fractal glasses, the company notes:

“Growing up in rural Alaska the Aurora Borealis a.k.a. The Northern Lights were the most beautiful form of light for me. Nothing compared and nothing comes close. From my love of lighting I’ve started this project in hopes that I can share my appreciation as far as the Internet and travels will allow.”

 

 

 

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Here’s To Your Eyes

eye-800766_1280While pouring the next round for your friends, you may want to consider going a little light for the blue-eyed imbibers. According to a new research report, those with lighter eye colors face increased odds of alcoholism compared to individuals with dark-brown eyes.

In a recent story on livescience.com, writer Agata Blasczcak-Boxe notes that a study was made of 1,263 Americans of European descent consisting of a blend of 992 diagnosed with alcohol dependence and 271 participants not diagnosed.

“They found that the rate of alcohol dependence was 54 percent higher among people with light-colored eyes—including blue, green, gray and light brown eyes—than among those with dark brown eyes.”


The study, led by Arvis Sulovari at the University of Vermont was featured in the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics (Part B), and, according to news-medical.net:

“The study outlines the genetic components that determine eye color and shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use.”

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While the findings are fascinating, Sulovari and his advisor at the University of Vermont, Dawei Li, note in an interview with April Burbank at the Burlington Free Press that it may be premature to stop serving cocktails to those with light eyes.

“The connection between eye color and an alcohol dependence diagnosis is ‘preliminary,’ Li said. They’re not about to suggest that clinicians begin screening people for eye color, as much more research is needed.”

Sulovari added: “There is a lot to be untangled here and we may have only uncovered the tip of the iceberg—and we hope there is an iceberg here.”

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Googly Eyes Cross the Channel

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Did you ever have the feeling that you were being watched, only to look around and see that the only thing standing nearby is a postbox? Or maybe you’ve contemplated just what the skyscraper next door would look like as a businessman having a cup of tea.

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All images by Sandrine Estrade Boulet

 

Or perhaps none of these thoughts have ever popped into your head—not to worry, artist Sandrine Estrade Boulet has enough imagination to spare. Calling herself a “hallucinatrist” she takes reality and adds in a splash of animation.

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According to a recent report by Meg Miller at Co.Design, Boulet blends photography and illustration to create a cast of characters out of the London streets and skyline that are now the focus of her exhibit, “Londovisions” in London’s KK Outlet

Boulet’s visions offer a fresh perspective on the familiar, from everyday objects to the drudgery of the daily commute to a city’s well-known historical landmarks (Big Ben? I think you mean Alice in Londonland). It’s an exercise in noticing, and for city dwellers especially, it’s a nice reminder to enjoy a city’s quirky charms before it becomes too routine.

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Based in Paris, Boulet’s website notes that:

“Her work is deliberately eclectic. Mix of

photography, illustration, urban art and in

situ works…in weightlessness in a

dimension between dream and reality.”

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In addition to her work in galleries, Boulet’s lighthearted works have also been featured in Sephora ads, according to her agents at Bookmaker.

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Television’s Modern Eye

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.21.07 PMWhile some may question the cultural value of television, historians note that the medium has been quietly feeding viewers samples of the best of the arts for years. Particularly in the early days of TV, artists were coming into people’s homes, providing an eyeful of modern art. Salvador Dali was featured on “What’s My Line” and Ernie Kovacs once staged “Swan Lake,” albeit with the dancers dressed as gorillas. Children at home also had the opportunity to try their own hand at art, drawing on TV screens covered by sheets of plastic during “Winky Dink and You.”

This dance between arts and entertainment is the focus on “Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television,” exhibit at the Jewish Museum and curated by Maurice Berger. Notes Leanne Italie for the Associated Press in the Columbia Tribune:

“In a new exhibit, “Revolution of the Eye,” the Jewish Museum and its curator, Maurice Berger, travel back to the birth of TV, delving into most every crevice for connections to the art world through more than 260 objects, artifacts and clips.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.06.55 PMThe show, which runs through September 20 at the Jewish Museum in New York City, looks at the 1940s through 1970s via the TV screen as it relates to the world of art with the exhibit including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Saul Bass whose works could be seen in programs, advertisements, and merchandising materials.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.21.33 PMOne of the most striking parts of the exhibit, notes Mike Hale in The New York Times, is the portion that covers the program “The Twilight Zone”:

“The real exemplar from this period is “The Twilight Zone” with its forthright surrealism, a debt to then-contemporaries like Magritte and Dali that Rod Serling, the show’s creator, readily acknowledged.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.20.50 PMAnother part of the exhibit includes the CBS eye logo, which is a modernist icon inspired by Shaker hexes. According to the museum, the exhibit highlights a “visual revolution” where the developmental timelines for art and TV entwined, creating something attention- grabbing that changed the way Americans—and the world—lives. Museum representatives note:

“Revolution of the Eye looks at how the dynamic new medium, in its risk-taking and aesthetic experimentation, paralleled and embraced cutting-edge art and design.”

 

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Stan Lee: Sunglass Super Hero

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.10.59 AMStan Lee is known for many things—most of them hero-related. As the former master of the Marvel Universe, he is the mind behind comic book idols Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk, to name just a few. These heroes are recognizable for their strength, their character, and their distinctive looks—who doesn’t remember the Hulk’s shredded purple pants or Captain America’s patriotic suit and shield. Even for folks who aren’t getting their tickets for Comic-Con and catching the latest Avengers movie for the 15th time, these characters are visually familiar to a huge audience.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 10.58.16 AMLee, too, has a uniform of sorts: he is consistently spotted sporting sunglasses. Nowhere is this more clear than at his office at POW! Entertainment, opened in 2001. According to the blog Comic Book Resources, Lee’s sunglasses take front and center stage throughout the nonagenarian’s museum-like office space in Beverly Hills, CA.

“In the latest edition of its “Spaces” feature, Adweek takes a tour of the 92-year-old writer’s POW! Entertainment office in Beverly Hills, where it spotlights family photos, a 1980 Spider-Man pinball machine, Marvel figures and collectibles, art from fans, and painting by Steve Kaufman.”

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Lee and Spider-Man face off in this painting by Andy Warhol protege Steve Kaufman in Lee’s office, pictured by Adweek

 

From his personal photos to the cover of his book “Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics,” and his frequent cameos in Marvel films, he can be seen sporting dark lenses. This fall, he will continue the tradition as his memoir “Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir” will come out with an illustration of Lee once again in his stylish shades

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Where did his love of all eyewear sunblocking spring from? In a recent interview by Todd Aaron Jensen at biography.com, Lee attributes it to a combination of health awareness and a young man’s effort to look more mature.

“I’ve always worn sunglasses. They’re like my mask, I guess. It was probably just some silly affectation. When I was very young and just starting off as a writer, I always lit a pipe and held it in my teeth as I wrote. I hated smoking a pipe, but I felt it made me look older and like a writer. I was 18. Sunglasses are better for your health.”

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A Body-Wide Eye

A California two-spot octopus hatchling.

A California two-spot octopus hatchling.

The octopus is far more than eight clever legs. These animals are not only the most sophisticated of the mollusks, research has shown that the animals use their skin as a backup for their eyes. A new study by a pair of scientists from the University of California Santa Barbara presents their findings on the animals in the latest Journal of Experimental Biology.

Dr. Desmond Ramirez and Todd Oakley, were inspired to test questions raised by previous findings about the cephalopods, notes their report in the Journal of Experimental Biology:

“…Octopuses collect information about their setting with their large camera-like eyes before sending signals to chromatophores in the skin to change color. However, Ramirez had noticed two reports describing how the color-changing structures (chromatophores) in tiny biopsies of squid and octopus skin reacted to light with no input from the eyes or brain…”

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According to an article by Julie Cohen in The UC Santa Barbara Current, they found that chemicals found in Octopus eyes are in their skin, too.

 “A new study by UCSB scientists has found that the skin of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) can sense light even without input from the central nervous system. The animal does so by using the same family of light-sensitive proteins called opsins found in its eyes — a process not previously described for cephalopods.”

By shining white light on octopus tissues, Ramirez found that the skin color changes even when the animal’s eyes and brain weren’t involved in the exposure, Cohen adds. The process was coined Light-Activated Chromatophone Expansion (LACE).

Image by Sonia Fernandez

Image of Todd Oakley (l) and Desmond Ramirez by Sonia Fernandez

 “Octopus skin doesn’t sense light in the same amount of detail as the animal does when it uses its eyes and brain,” said lead author Desmond Ramirez, a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB). “But it can sense an increase or change in light. Its skin is not detecting contrast and edge but rather brightness.”

 

 

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Moving Beyond Blindness

The loss of sight can be utterly devastating and requires learning an entirely new way of navigating the world. While medical advances strive to cure blindness, blind individuals are coming up with their own coping techniques to live a better, sportier life.

In the suburbs of Philadelphia, Mel Scott found herself frustrated while working out. The legally blind health fan was missing her full range of exercise options because she was unable to follow workout DVDs. So she came up with her own line of workout programs, BlindAlive Eyes-FreeFitness.

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“A quality workout done at the right time of day and at the right pace to meet your unique physical and mental needs is just what the doctor may have forgotten to order. For many blind people, fitness has been a challenge: without someone to guide you and without the ability to drive yourself to the gym, it becomes obvious why so many of us give up.”

High School pole vaulter, Charlotte Brown, is legally blind, but still placed third at a recent University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Meet. Blind since her sophomore year, Brown is now a senior at Emory Rains High School who counts her steps and uses a beeper to sound out exactly where she should plant her pole and jump.

In an AP report at USNews.com by Jim Vertuno, Brown said she and her dog Vador were proud to receive the bronze medal.

“I finally did it,” Brown said. “If I could send a message to anybody, it’s not about pole vaulting and it’s not about track. It’s about finding something that makes you happy despite whatever obstacles are in your way.”

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Credit: Open Your Eyes (http://www.openyoureyes.org/photo-gallery)

 

This fall, one USC football hopeful, Jake Olson, has already faced a bigger challenge than trying out for a team—and won. Olson, a longtime-fan of the Trojans, lost his sight to cancer of the retinal and during his trials the team coach supported the youngster, even hosting him at one of their practices on the day before the surgery that would take his site.

After his recovery, Olson honed his skills on the field as a long-snapper for his high school football team. Now, he hopes to be a part of his favorite time when he attends USC in the fall. And in a story by NBC Sports by John Taylor, head coach Steve Sarkisian says he is optimistic.

“Someday he’s going to snap in a game for us. When? I don’t know. But it will happen.”

 

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Elton John Eyeglass Snatcher: BUSTED!

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From TMZ.com

Crime doesn’t pay, especially when it comes to stealing a pair of Elton John’s heart-shaped glasses. According to TMZ, Memphis police tracked down the eyewear stolen from the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum in Memphis in April.

This is when the genuinely efficient police work comes…the entertainment blog notes:

“Police took the incident so seriously, they lifted fingerprints off the glass case and managed to track the thief to Mississippi.”

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The thief, on the other hand, proved not to be a mastermind:

“Police then called the guy on the phone …and 26-year-old Matthew Colvin copped to taking them. He was arrested for bringing stolen property into the state and for being a fugitive from justice.”

According to LocalMemphis.com, the glasses—valued at more than $2,000—are back on display at their Memphis home.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 10.58.01 PMWhile there are claims that the singer has as many as 250,000 pairs of glasses, The Elton John Scrapbook by Mary Anne Cassata clarifies:

“Press reports from the 1970s and 1980s detailed his ever-expanding spectacles collection to exceed over 500 pairs. In reality, Elton stated the number was closer to 366. In 1988 he cleaned house and sold his stagewear and other personal items including 75 pairs of eyeglasses in a highly publicized Sotheby’s auction.”

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Elton John performs at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, 1986/ Photo Bob Leafe/Retna

Glasses such as the heart-shaped model that proved irresistible to the robber were John’s signature topping to dramatic stage costumes over the years. Other styles were featured by Rolling Stone in a retrospective of the performers wild looks.

 

 

 

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A Glass Abroad

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.47.24 AMYour summer adventure in Europe now has the potential to be a bit more techy. Glass Almanac reports that France’s Grand Palais in Paris is offering for it’s new Diego Velazquez exhibit  featuring Google Glass-guided tours in parallel with the audio and multimedia guides to the Spanish master’s exhibit running through July 13. They note:

“The Glass-based tours are the work of Acoustiguide, a longtime provider of interactive content for museums, galleries and similar public facilities.”

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(Photo via Creative Commons.)

 

According to Acoustiguide, museum goers will be able to take in the art on display as well as the Glasses display augmentation of music, videos, images, and commentaries to support the enjoyment of each work. Between the comfort and the extra information, Glasses can enhance the exhibit with a fluid to and fro between the artworks and the Glass display, says Agnes Alfandari, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Acoustiguide, noting:

“The major advantage of the glasses is that you can look at the painting itself and simultaneously view or listen to audiovisual content, without this hindering viewing the picture. The glasses are simple to use and so light you completely forget you are wearing them, which enables you to concentrate on the artwork while you are shown its most interesting details.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.48.30 AMThis is the first time Velazquez is getting an exhibit of this extent in the City of Lights, notes Architectural Digest:

“Celebrated 17th-century painter Diego Velázquez, a master of portraiture and perspective and the leader of the Spanish school, was a fixture in the royal court of Spain for much of his life. Today his paintings are coveted by museums and private collectors around the world; a 1985 poll of artists and critics in the Illustrated London News deemed Velázquez’s Las Meninas “the world’s greatest painting.” Yet a comprehensive exhibition of his works has never been presented in France—until now.”

According to the museum, Two discovery visits with Google Glass (rental 8 euros) are scheduled on each of the following days: Wednesdays and Saturdays: 12.00 and 19.00; Sundays and Mondays: 11.00 and 19.00. Reserve now on the Grand Palais website and benefit from privileged admission (without waiting in line), or inquire at the “Audio guides” counter at the entrance to the exhibition.

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The Eye Painter

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Many painters treasure their hands as the keys to their creative efforts. But artist Graham Fink has left his hands behind to create artwork with his eyes. Using brainpower and computer software developed with a software developer utilizing an eye-tracker, Fink has created a series of portraits which are drawn as his eyes trace patterns on screen.

According to a Wired story by Liz Stinson:

“Much like the EyeWriter, a piece of open-source software that lets disabled graffiti artists draw with their eyes, Fink’s setup is based on two infrared lights that shine into each eye. The reflection of this movement is recorded with a camera and passed through algorithms that slow the natural oscillation of Fink’s eye, turning what otherwise would be a shaky line into something much smoother.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.11.56 PM The portraits can take a few minutes or an hour to complete, Fink notes. The artist—a multimedia practitioner who works in photography, film, and painting, is also a BAFTA and Cannes Grand Prix-winning creative director—linked current innovation in thinking and creating images at a show held at Riflemaker London.

The event blended technology and artistry in live drawings, noted at his website, GrahamFink.com.

“As he directs his own eye movement, lines appear on the page. He will achieve this with the help of software he developed in conjunction with Tobii Technology in China, specifically a Tobii ‘eye-tracker’. The technology works by shining infra-red light straight into the eyes. The reflections are recorded using multi-algorithms and filters which allow eye movement to immediately be translated onto a screen.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.12.18 PMIn an interview with The Creators Project, Fink notes that the experience was an entirely new way of approaching art.

“What’s interesting is that, obviously you look at many faces throughout the day, and I noticed that the images I create change according to what I’ve seen. They come directly from the subconscious. Normally art is made with your hands, using a pencil or a paintbrush, which can be something that gets in the way of the creating the image you have in your mind. I wanted it to be purer: to go directly from the subconscious, straight from the eyes and onto the canvas…The fact that you can make something without ever touching it is really interesting. When the drawings are finished I ask my assistant to print them out and I made a stamp with my signature on it and my assistant stamps the work, so that’s my signing. I like the idea of having made these things without ever actually touching them.”

 

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