Annie Carpenter - thoughts

Open Door residency

Spending time at ACA has been a brilliant experience for me. An art centre with an observatory in isolated woodland surrounded by former industrial sites - a rich resource for inspiration, and so relevant to my interests.

I arrived at the residency interested in experiencing those periods where no useful observing can take place. Those moments waiting for the clouds to pass, for the Moon change phase, or the Sun to set. Twilight is a time that has particularly captured my attention during my stay at Allenheads and I spent time in the woods alone during this time, experiencing the changing light, sounds and sensations of this period.

During the weekend we were visited by astrophotographer Gary Lintern. His background is in psychology and has an interest in unconscious processing. Our discussion briefly touched on night vision and how to improve it. It is this that I would like to explore further, through sculpture and performance. Gary mentioned a researcher called Nelson Zink, who developed a device for peripheral vision training. This has provided an aesthetic, conceptual and experiential starting point for my exploration:

“On the bill of a baseball cap we mounted a metal rod welded to a binder clip, extending about a foot in front of our eyes. On the tip of this rod we glued a small bead of plastic resin about the size of a baby green pea. This created a fixed point on which to focus. We reasoned that with our focused vision on the bead, any physical activity would necessitate the use of peripheral vision.”

(Zink, H., Parks, S. (1991) ‘Nightwalking : Exploring the dark with Peripheral Vision’, Whole Earth Review)