View Full Version : Seeing without sight

2005-Jan-28, 03:29 PM
I was reading NewScientist mag today and it's cover story is Future sense. Well the 2nd article is 'Seeing without sight'.

Well that is a painting by an artist who they think has never seen in his life. One of his eyes never developed past the size of a pea IIRC, his over eye was severely scarred and his brain no longer receives any light stimuli.

"When he drew, his visual cortex lit up as though he was seeing. In fact, says Pascual-Leone, a naive viewer of his scan might assume Armagan really could see."

The guy is blind and he paints a million times better than me. I always said to my art teachers blind people can draw better then me... Well I told them :D

2005-Jan-28, 04:46 PM
I could understand him being able to draw the shapes, but the colors?!

2005-Jan-28, 04:49 PM
Uhm, if he has never been able to see, how does he know what the top of a tree looks like (the branches)? How light falls? perspective? colors? I'll ened a very good explanation before I believe that.

2005-Jan-28, 05:17 PM
Seeing eye brush? :D

2005-Jan-29, 12:04 AM
Uhm, if he has never been able to see, how does he know what the top of a tree looks like (the branches)? How light falls? perspective? colors? I'll ened a very good explanation before I believe that.

Well he said he asked people and they told him, like he said he used to think a shadow of something red would be red. I don't have a clue how he could get the description of a tree though and to the detail he drew them even with them being darker in the middle where they shadow themselves.

I guess he could have pulled a branch off and felt it, but then the mountains in the background aren't touchable. But perspective is a trick of the eyes not of the hands, the senses in the hands move with it so can't have a perspective difference.

I think it's the perspective thing that freaks me out the most because it's just so hard to grasp drawing optical illusions on paper. I'm unsure if the article is on newscientist.com because i can't connect, getting lots of time outs :evil:

W.F. Tomba
2005-Jan-29, 12:22 AM
I also find it hard to believe a blind man could have painted that, but I'm not going to say it's impossible. The perspective in the painting is not actually that good. I think if he has a good three-dimensional spatial sense---and there's no reason a blind person can't have that---he may have been able to learn rudimentary perspective without having to see it. It's just geometry, after all.

Light and shadow are also not as sight-dependent as you might think, since it is possible to feel sunlight.

And note that some details in the painting are oddly simplified. The sailboat is just a big white triangle on top of a half ellipse, just as you might describe a sailboat to someone who had never seen one.

That thing in the background may be a mountain or a cloud, but either way, it's really just a vaguely triangular white blob surrounded by blue. Sky is probably the easiest thing for a blind person to paint, provided someone tells him what it looks like. It doesn't need perspective or depth and it doesn't physically relate to anything else in the picture. You just draw the landscape two thirds of the way up the canvas and then fill in the sky above that.

Gullible Jones
2005-Jan-29, 12:29 AM
It's all quite possible if he simply had someone telling him what to paint, and what colors to use.

2005-Jan-29, 10:08 AM
Yes it that case it's possible for sure. BUt that would make the whole thing lots less special to me. I mean wev'e done a test in which one person described a photo without telling what there was on it, and another one had to draw it, so just using geometrical terms. Id did get some nice results, even if they didn't know what they actually were drawing. This person might not be able to see, but he has a sense of what "house" and "tree" is, so if a description is added to that, and someone points out the colos, the man ends up with just having hand control.

2005-Jan-29, 03:45 PM
The kind of hand control to do that would be amazing. It's not like you can just leave the brush on the canvas all the time. The artist would have to know exactly where everything was, especially when changing colours or brushes.

2005-Jan-29, 04:29 PM
The biography tells a bit about the way he paints, it's here. (http://www.mersina.com/gallery/armagan/bio.html)

I think it's pretty awesome, help or no help.

man on the moon
2005-Jan-30, 08:27 PM
This reminds me of a Rhoad Dahl story I read once. :S

anyone remember the one I am talking about? It was fiction, obviously, but still pretty entertaining. It was in a book with several short stories.