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The Limits of Seeing

Most important astronomical observatories are placed in high altitude locations such as the Atacama Desert, the Andes or Hawaii, where visibility is optimal as they are situated above clouds, water vapour and other atmospheric elements. However, scientists working in these observatories have to deal with physical and psychological high altitude related medical problems. When discoveries are made at these sites, assuring scientific rigour is paramount. This is normally achieved through a series of cognitive tests that measure both accuracy and speed of thinking, conducted between the scientists in the observatory and those based at sea level. This tension between what it is gained in vision and what may be lost in understanding highlights the idea that we do not necessarily see only with our eyes, but rather with our brains and our consciousness.

This video work uses a poetic and minimal language to express the problematics of achieving universal understanding of concepts and suggests that this process is both visual and verbal. It explores the limits of vision through communication and understanding that is simultaneously inwards and outwards, subjective and objective. This video work was created specially for the event The Limits of Seeing held at Anglia Ruskin University in March 2012, in collaboration with Cambridge Institute of Astronomy and Visualise Cambridge.

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