Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Remembering blind memory

How I experienced the world:
Initially, I felt very handicapped. Very quickly realizing the extent to which the seeing rely on this faculty in ways I never would have guess if I were to simply ponder on what it would be like to go blind. At this point Kyle, Mike and I were still just sitting in our chairs brainstorming.

During this hour of blindness my other senses came to life, but only after a conscious move to begin storing memory through touch, smell, sound etc. Before this sort of acclimating to my newfound blindness I was trying to fabricate a visual memory through a combination of my other sense along with some imagination. Since I had never been in the Speitz Lab, there was no spatial map or visual memory of how this building looks and how it would make me feel. For example, by feeling the sort and style of buttons in the elevator I could imagine how old the elevator was based on my visual database of button styles and the estimated era of their production. This visual fabrication would become apart of every thing I tried to experience with my hands. All objects in my mind then were constructed by bricks of previous visual memories and stereotypes. In effect I was tyring to make up for not having sight.

This then triggered thoughts on the discussion we had in class in regards to the provacativeness (in terms of memory) of pictures versus an audio recording. To myself, previously able to see, memories are stored in bundles of senses connected to varying degrees in time and space and so a picture of a girl laughing naturally evokes in my mind a sound of a girl laughing while an audio recording conjures up a related, visual thought or memory.

How I felt looking at the pictures: Initially it was quite shocking. It felt as if somone had stolen my body while I wasn't thinking and made me pose in a building I've never seen before. Actually, I felt so removed from this memory that I didn't believe I was looking at myself for a little while. Then the visual constructions I had produced during the walk-through of the building were clashing with the actual appearance of the room, furniture, doors, etc.

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