Eyes and Light
We have different ways of seeing. The body knows….
At least a year before my surgery, my eyes were needing certain adjustments. I began to turn all my screens down to the minimum brightness. I also inversed all my screens, black backgrounds with light text versus the seeming ubiquitous white background. Since 2009, I had been painting on black canvases and backgrounds. I didn’t think too much of it, other than it was an aesthetic decision. I prefer black backgrounds. Prefer to paint light than to paint shadows. I did have an underlying sense that it was easier on my eyes.
At night if the TV or any other screen was on, I couldn’t do it in the dark. There needed to be a lamp on to offset its harshness. I realize that the aversion I had was not to light but to artificial light. I didn’t realize at the time, despite my severe near-sightedness, that my retinas were not in the best in shape. When I received my diagnosis then underwent an emergency eye surgery, it all made sense.
Fast forward a year later, I still have black screens. Have finally figured out how to use Microsoft Word with a black screen and white text. This has been a life saver, together with turning down the brightness and always working with a screen set to 125%, magnifying all. I type in this way. Easy on the eyes. I only work in my studio during the day. Still can’t stand artificial light. I work with daylight and the light of the sun seeping in. However…, out of curiosity, I recently decided to bring up the brightness on my computer screen to half way. In doing this I made a necessary discovery. On my website, on social media, most of the images I had been posting were awfully pale, bleached out. Focused intently on healing and adjusting to my new normal, my dark eyes, I didn’t consider that the mainstream cyber world mostly functions differently. This is what happens with the abled masses. When most bodies work one way, it is assumed all bodies do. Mainstream cyberspace, accustomed to white backgrounds, white screens, white galleries, white supremacy (I digress, though necessarily) would see my images, created from darkness, differently.
To get people on-line to see my images the way I do (if that is what I’m wanting/ choosing), I’m required to try to see the way they do. Here seeps in lessons on Throat Chakra meditations. Finding and expressing our voice and truth expands our capacity to listen to and honor the voice and truth of others. Same goes for the next chakra, The Third Eye who sees beyond physicality and materiality. Too few of us consider how folks relying on accessibility applications to “see” in diverse ways, or know via other faculties, what we are posting and sharing. Web applications and social media have not normalized accessibility and leave the choice up to individuals to research and inform themselves. Space limitations force us to leave out necessary image descriptions. In my case, posting alone, with small ass fonts and tiny windows and screens, becomes a chore, so adding longer descriptive information (I’m embarrassed to admit) becomes more challenging. I still haven’t figured out all these accessibility options. I was forced to try to research and learn them at a time when my eyes could not research and read. So I figured shit out as best I could or opted out.
I post this with various intentions. To share observations on seeing, on what the eyes receive, see, share and on the odd concept of artificial light and screens governing how we see the world, how we see and relate to each other, sometimes even our own selves. I share this as a reflective reminder of the myriad ways we see, with what light, and what colors. The sobering reminder of how humanity looks at the same thing but takes away a million interpretations.
P.S. I realize I had been applying to grants with these pale ass images…. It will take time to adjust them all on my website and elsewhere, pero poco a poco. I’m just grateful my spirit allies made me aware sooner than later…