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[Xmca-l] Re: Notes on Blindness

Annalisa, this was a fantastic video (great lunchtime viewing!). Sights and
sounds of cinematographers who are extremely gifted.

A few tidbits that struck me:

First, the fact that it was pictures and not people that he remembered.
Seems something to do with the complexity of the image of a person in
motion, alive, moving, unfixed, with shades and textures constantly
changing. The fixed image of a picture is far superior for memorialization
precisely because of its reduction of modality (and of its fixedness in

Second, a quote from his wife about her husband's loss of vision:
"I can't look into his eyes and be seen.
There's no 'beholding' in that sense of being held in somebody's look.
And I think, when you're very close to somebody, that is a huge loss."

and from him:
"To be seen is to exist."

This suggests that seeing has a constitutive power. To see is to make (or
rather, in both cases above, to be seen is to be made (cf. Bakhtin's notion
of "consummation").

[I should add that this is elegantly put by both Hull and his wife, but I
wonder if this sense of loss and non-existence in blindness has something
to do with his having seen and lost sight. I suspect it is somewhat
different for someone who has never seen, or even someone who has never
seen and then is able to see (there are many stories of such persons that
are equally as tragic, if not more tragic, than Hull's story - upon gaining
site, they are thrown into a world that is incomprehensible to them -
again, the power of reduction...). Regardless, it seems that in this
narrative there is a privileging of the "ocular" above all other possible
modes through which one could come to be recognized (colloquially "seen")
as being a rich individual. This is why a larger category, such as
"recognition", is needed. In a given culture the ocular one may be
dominant, but that isn't to say that it is the only way of being made...

And I really liked Hull's description of rain:
"Rain brings out the contours of what's around you in that it introduces a
continuous blanket of differentiated and specialized sound. Uninterrupted.
which fills the whole of the audible environment.
If only there could be something equivalent to rain falling inside. Then
the whole of a room would take on shape and dimension.
I should also say that this is an experience of beauty.
Instead of being isolated, cut off, preoccupied, internally, you are
presented with a world. You are related to a world. You are addressed by a

I have a vague recollection of once experiencing the rain like that....

On Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 11:09 AM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hello!
> Thought I would add another viewing experience to the mix!
> How does one explain blindness visually?
> http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/16/opinion/16OpDoc-NotesOnBlindness.html
> <
> http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/16/opinion/16OpDoc-NotesOnBlindness.html?smid=tw-nytimes&_r=1
> >
> The dramatizations are very wonderful, full of thought and affect
> combined, which makes it very real, very human. I never thought about rain
> this way!?
> It's 12 minutes long with an accompanying article about the making of the
> video. Apparently there is a full-length film in the making right now!
> Kind regards,
> Annalisa

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602