GG_sm Lorna Mills and Sally McKay

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Sally McKay: GIFS / cv and contact

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I have been learning some groovy things about colour lately. I always knew that certain surfaces reflect and absorb various light rays in the spectrum. What I didn't know was that our brain reads colour as a set of ratios, rather than absolute values. So, according to neuroscientist Semir Zeki, green reflects 70% of middle wave (green) light and 20% of incident long wave (red) light, no matter what the amount of light. We compare all the values and the knowledge we get is about the reflectance of the various surfaces. Colour, according to Zeki, is an interpretation of that knowledge. [Semir Zeki, “The Neurology of Ambiguity,” in The Artful Mind: Cognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity, Turner, Mark, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) p.251]

Also, I learned a new phrase: scene gist. It means, guess what, getting the gist of a scene. We can do it really very quickly, and we can get scene gist even if we don't have time to identify any of the objects in the scene. Monica Castelhano has worked on the role of colour in scene gist. Structure tells us a lot, and so we can get the gist pretty effetively from black and white images. But Castelhano found that if the images are blurred, or the time they are shown is reduced, to the point where we have problems, then colour helps us out. One of the things that the brain does to be efficient is look for edges and boundaries, filling in surfaces automatically. Colour helps with this definition of shapes. But Castelhano and her team wanted to see if it had another role besides emphasising structure. They set up an experiment showing people scenes with natural colour, versus scenes with unnatural colour that nonetheless enhanced the structural qualities. People were able to get the gist better from the natural colour. [Castelhano, Monica, "The Influence of Color on the Perception of Scene Gist," Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 2007]

From Semir Zeki, I also learned that we form a colour memory, learning from experience what colours are associated with what forms. Seeing natural colour in a natural environment activiates the hippocampus (which works on memory) and other parts of the brain that are involved with high level cognition. When we see abstract colours in a painting these areas are not activated. Says Zeki, "...abstract scenes do really seem to affect early visual areas without eliciting activity from areas which are active only when we view natural scenes." I'm thinking, though, that if we start trying to figure out what those abstract colours might mean, or whether our kid could paint that, then the frontal lobes are going to get involved pretty quickly.[Semir Zeki, Inner Visions: An Exploration of Art and the Brain, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) p.201]

- sally mckay 5-13-2008 4:16 pm [link] [10 comments]

Yam Lau



Scapeland 2008 multi-channel video projection at YYZ Gallery during Images Festival

Yam Lau is currently in an exhibition with Alain Paiement at Leo Kamen, 80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 406, Toronto until May 31, 2008.

(A previous post about Lau's work.)

- L.M. 5-12-2008 4:19 pm [link] [3 refs] [add a comment]

Sunday Devotionals - Celia Cruz

Guantanamera (that silk gown became pure sex on her)

Quimbara w/ Tito Puente

Oye Como Va

- L.M. 5-11-2008 4:45 pm [link] [6 comments]


Joester wrote a nice review of Grand Theft Auto 4. A snippet:
SPOILER: yes you can steal a helicopter and of course you can crash it into the Statue of Liberty (Statue of Happiness). But if you do it right you end up on a higher platform that you can't reach from the tourist entrance. Go through a secret door and you're inside the statue itself. Climb the staircase to the top and what's there? A giant beating heart. Yup, you heard me. It's suspended in the middle of the statue from chains. Right up there with the weirdest things in a video game ever. Shooting it (and who would do such a thing) has no effect, it just keeps on beating. Be careful trying to blow it up with a grenade, it's a real easy way to die. How do you get down from the statue? Well, unless there's a hidden parachute somewhere, you don't exactly survive the experience.

- sally mckay 5-10-2008 5:00 pm [link] [1 comment]

Magda Wojtrya made these fish for the Fish Net project at Harbourfront Centre (go see it!). The captions and photos are hers, reposted with permission from her Flickr page.


Magda Wojtrya: Brook trout, about 14" long, made from fabric and card from housewares packaging. All the eyes are made from silver chocolate wrapping for the sclera and bicycle innertube rubber for the pupils.


Magda Wojtrya: Emerald shiners, made from silver lame and plastic food containers.


Magda Wojtrya: Threespine sticklebacks, about 4" long, made from fabric, plastic food containers, and the spines are made from a fish tin.


Magda Wojtrya: Marc is holding male and female American eels in their silvery migration coats. Made from painted silver lame and the long fins are bicycle innertubes.

- sally mckay 5-09-2008 4:17 pm [link] [1 ref] [6 comments]

Janet Morton - Better Homes and Gardens at the KW/AG, 101 Queen Street North, Kitchener, ON.
May 9 - July 6, 2008

Opening - Friday, May 9, 7-9 p.m.

Cardigan 2004 hand knit (1993) cardigan with giraffe

Work socks for Patsy (the elephant) 2004 four hand knit socks

- L.M. 5-08-2008 11:58 am [link] [8 comments]