Why We Should Define Light as an Overarching Consideration of the Visual Sense (Essay Series 1.1)?
The Paradigm Shift and Our Zeitgeist (Part 1)
Light exists in our zeitgeist as a medium by which we receive different forms of information, but it exists more explicitly through its capacity to help us to see. However, light possesses a broader contextualization. Light informs the mood and our attitudes toward both spaces and people.
We seek to form a critique of the zeitgeist in this manner as we determine that there are not separate manifestations of light, but rather simply “light” and its forms. We critique this zeitgeist further by determining light as broader than its different forms or own interpretations of its capacity; we define light as an overarching consideration of the visual sense as it is informed by our culture, climate, and materiality.
Like pixels, light is a physical embodiment. Pixels can be controlled and manipulated to form patterns which we interpret as text or imagery, not merely through our conditioned response to familiar patterns but also through philosophical and theoretical perspectives. This is true of light as well. In understanding this, it is clear that the focus of the zeitgeist of light is of light as a thing, in whatever technological form it may manifest.
Our experience of the quotidian is informed by the senses; through our ability to see, hear, feel, taste, and touch. We live in a world dominated by aesthetic concerns and preferences as we seek to find comfort for our bodies and minds. How do we begin to determine our own capacities for change in order to adapt to our environment? Here we arrive at a discussion about design and its ability to inform how we want to live. Design is not only a tool that we can use to manifest concepts and thoughts, but also one that allows us to sculpt our existence. Light is what forms our ability to see; its dispersions and levels determine how we interpret the content we see. Though opinions may vary, it is hard to argue that through our aesthetical concerns we do not perceive what we see to be of great value to us and our comfort. This is not to say that we do not value the aesthetics of sound in a beautiful opera; that of taste in a delicious meal; that of smell in a poesy of fresh flowers, or that of touch in a warm caress, but we do, first, sense through sight.
The power of our first visual impressions is extreme — it is said humans determine attraction in less than a second. How then are we to condition our sense of sight? To do that we must first not question what we see, but how we see. What we see is not the matter we form with our hands or the pixels we shape through our technology, but rather frequencies of light. When we generally speak of visual aesthetics we do not discuss methods of forming content, but how light affects our capacity to see.