Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Eye tracking drawing technology

Graham Fink has an exhibition at Riflemaker at the moment that relies on using eye tracking software, in particular he has acquired a Tobii 'eye-tracker'. See: 

The technology works by shining infra-red light directly into the eyes. The reflections are recorded by a camera through multi-algorithms and filters which allow eye movement to immediately be translated to a screen. 

This type of software is becoming more available as developments in aids for people who have lost their limbs or body functions becomes more sophisticated. 

As you can see from looking at the two drawings above the images are very close in appearance to those drawings done in exercises when you are asked to keep drawing whilst looking at the subject and making your hand follow what you are seeing without looking at the paper. If you have not done this, you should try it. It's interesting that the gallery celebrates this as a unique thing, when for many artists working in this way is basic bread and butter stuff. The only thing that has changed is that computer software and a printer have replaced the brain and hand. 

It is interesting to compare these computer drawings to other images. 


As a sculptor Giacometti feels for the face in space. His eye movements being tracked by his pen as he searches for what is there in front of him. 

Claude Heath

 Claude Heath is actually feeling for the form. The white dot on top of the 'head' being the point where his feeling starts from. 

"When you follow the movements of a football across a flat TV screen you sometimes have the sensation that the ball is going in a certain direction when it turns out to have a different arc altogether and ends up at the feet of a different player than you had first thought. Its true movements are hidden by the flatness of the screen until it arrives at some particular part of the pitch. This same kind of sensation sometimes happens while drawing, when you attempt to compress the sight and touch of a solid object onto various parts of a flat surface". 
Claude Heath 

Claude Heath has been fascinated for a long time with how we see and how a drawing can trace a memory or record of the process. 

Thinking about looking has of course been central to drawing practice for hundreds of years from Durer's investigations of drawing technology to Cezanne's preoccupation with trying to record those "petit sensations". As someone who draws every day it has always been a central concern of my own and I often return to this activity in order to refresh my own drawing language with a dose of perceptual reality. 

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