Exerpt from The Luminists

The Luminists, 2007

The Luminist sound and video projects explore the nature of vision, based on phone calls I recorded with three artists who lost their sight but continue making art: Alice Wingwall, a photographer; Carol Saylor, a painter turned sculptor, and Tara Inmon, a painter turned writer. Topics of discussion ranged from the meaning of vision; how the women continued to visualize the world in their minds eye; how they imaged their work, the process of perception, what they found beautiful; and the effect of a changing sensory palette on consciousness. Often the discussions were very descriptive, detailing imagery that the artists perceived but could not biologically see. In this way, both parties communicated on the same playing field, reconstructing vision and the described art works through sound.

Each artist speaks about different aspects of vision. Alice Wingwall discusses the behavior of looking, which now involves her body feeling through space to create a mental image, Tara Inmon speaks about the continued need to see after going blind, turning toward a sound and thinking she could see an object there, and Carol Saylor speaks about her waking dream life, seeing abstract visual patterns projected by the remnants of her optical nerve that inspired her to return to her art after going blind.

The Luminist sound project is an abstract 5.1 audio installation created with composer Paul Geluso. The immersive aspect of the piece refers to spatial audio cues the women use to visualize their environment. The vivid descriptions of their inner visual lives inspire images in the minds of each listener, creating an implied visual track for the sound work. The Luminist video project is a short experimental video produced in collaboration with three animators: Kuni Chang, Enrique Maitland and Luba Drozd, in three different styles, inspired by the personality of each artist.

The Luminists project was supported through a commission from Art in General, exhibited from April – June 2007.