We consider that the act of looking is central it is to what we are as humans. So many of the brain’s connections are about directing/processing this continuous action, at once physical and cerebral. Man the Observer is perhaps what the hunter-gatherer-that-we-were has been becoming for millennia. The School of Looking will be about sharing some of this perspective on ourselves and our place in the world with the people of Westside as well as with researchers at CÚRAM. Who knows what will come of it: perhaps some of the devices that are being developed there will help us in the development of our own art, or perhaps our philosophy of looking will help the researchers in their work. We certainly hope so…

To introduce the theme of vision, we will show and discuss our Metaperceptual Helmets, and we hope to introduce some new ideas for artworks about looking, and hopefully even build a prototype of one or two of them: simple viewing devices that challenge our idea of what vision is: wearable artworks inspired by scientific experiments, by poetic ideas or simply by playful whims: a pseudoscope that swaps left and right eye; a pair of helmets that allow two people to swap eyes with each other; complementary coloured eyeglasses that force the brain to reinvent colour vision; a vertical/horizontal slit visor that offers cruciform vision; a dense perforated screen that gets more transparent the faster it spins around the head; a mask that blurs the world… 

What advantages does the vertical slit pupil of the domestic cat profer? In what way is their vision different than that of goats?

Prototype of the Equiluminance Helmet at the “Seeing Colour” Conference, University of Regensburg, Germany. September 2016

Study for the Equiluminance Helmet. 2015

What would happen if the vision of a predator and that of an animal of prey are combined?

The Spookfish is the only known animal to use mirrors in its eyes, scanning the ocean floor for food while watching for predators above.

The Cyclops Helmet. 2015

Study for the Pseudoscope Helmet. 2015

Study for the Complementary Helmet. 2017

Study for the Horsehead Helmet. 2014

Study for the Gecko Helmet. 2016

Study for the Historioscope, 2016

Commissioned in September 2017 by CÚRAM - the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway - together with Galway City Arts Office, the School of Looking proposes a community art-science project for Westside community in Galway City.