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Seeing the movement: our visual brain at work

By on Feb 18, 2017 in Vision | 2 comments

Having discussed how painters tackled the problem of representing motion in art, we can, therefore, ask ourselves the following question: how is this type of information processed in our brain? On a different occasion, we will describe the stream of visual information from the retina via the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) to the posterior pole of the occipital lobe, which contains the primary visual cortex (V1). From V1, information flows along two channels: a ventral pathway extending towards the temporal lobe and a more dorsal pathway, that projects towards the parietal lobe (see figure below). The ventral stream of information is mainly concerned with establishing identities and building categories of visual objects. Running in an anterior direction from the occipital lobe, neurons lying along this pathway are selectively activated by increasingly more complex visual stimuli....

Motion seen through a painter’s palette

By on Feb 17, 2017 in Painting | 0 comments

The illusion of movement The motion has always fascinated us. In pre-Socratic Greece, Zeno of Elea distrusted its credentials, arguing that “it is impossible to move because what moves must reach the half-way point earlier than the end.” Since the number of half-points between two end-points of a journey is infinite, he concluded that it is impossible to traverse an infinite number of states in a limited time. He was inadvertently sowing the seeds of calculus, which would remain dormant for a while. At the beginning of the XXth century, poets and painters were adamant in proclaiming the virtues of motion and speed. In his Manifesto del futurismo (1909), Marinetti wrote: Up to now, literature has glorified contemplation, ecstasy, and reverie. We want to exalt the aggressive movement, feverish insomnia, the racing step, the deadly leap, the slap and the punch. We declare that the world’s...