Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19. A New Vision For Old Flyers

The Idea: Sight is a function of the eyes, vision is a function of the brain. When the brain knows what it's looking at, the more accepting the eyes are of seeing. This simple exercise works with the eye-brain/sight-vision connection. It is, in a sense, a one-person version of the Describing exercise.

Set Up: Have 2 copies of a flyer that uses various sizes of print (it can also use various fonts, colors and contrasts—just so long as the 2 flyers are exactly the same). Tape one of these flyers to a wall and have the other in your hand. If you are nearsighted, sit or stand so that the wall flyer is just out of focus and hold the hand flyer at a distance where it's legible. If you are farsighted, sit or stand as far away from the wall flyer so that you can read it clearly, holding the flyer in your hand at a distance where it becomes blurry.

How To:
Read the largest font on the flyer that's in focus, then look at the same line of text on the flyer that's out of focus. Can you read it? Do this while breathing and relaxing and without squinting. Go through the various styles of print on the flyer, switching from reading the copy you see clearly to the copy that you can't see clearly.

What's Going On: When we look at something that's not in focus, the clear image of that thing is still entering the eyes. By knowing what that thing looks like, the brain can work with the eyes to bring it into clarity. Because the brain knows exactly what the out-of-focus flyer looks like, it can bring it into focus. The clarity of the flyer can increase with regular practice.

Testimonial: I did this exercise while traveling across the U.S. staying with people who were always having events and so they had lots of flyers around. There'd be one on the fridge or a bulletin board and other copies for distribution, and I'd sit and talk with my hosts while doing this exercise. It really helped my vision as well as making me invested in the stuff that my hosts were doing—protests, punk shows, puppet shows, Food Not Bombs events, bike rides, etc. It broadened my scope of possibility in ways which people can come together. I've put together many events—and flyers—ever since.

At the top: A poster I made for a puppet cabaret in Philadelphia, right after a series of police raids had targeted activist artists.
Above: A flyer for one of my theater workshops.

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