‘Visual Haiku' Dissemble Details From Askance Views





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Nothing can really compare to having one's parietal lobe fondled by five hundred people. For those ingénues who have never been lucky enough to have had such an experience, "Visual Haiku," an art exhibition inspired by the neuroscientific explorations of Professor David Presti's MCB 61 class, presents the perfect opportunity for a nice neurobiological tickling.

For Presti and Gareth Spor, a graduate student in MCB who brainstormed the project with Presti, the class exercise was a way of getting the class to think about the experience of vision.

"I wanted students to think about how, in the process of making sense of the visual world there is a deconstruction of images into lines and simple curves," Presti said. "In doing the assignment students also appreciated the connection between art and perception astounding."

Indeed, the majority of the exhibit's nine hundred black and white drawings are not identifiable as the work of undergraduates in a lower division science class. Simple lines and curves converge to give a slice of each person's life and a hint of the visual experience that inspired the drawing. Spor, who estimates that he used about a quarter-mile of scotch tape to assemble the drawings, saw the assignment as a way of getting students to participate in a more simplistic artistic experience.

Photos/Peter J. Goetz

"Haiku takes an experience and simplifies it into a distilled form," he said.

The drawings run the gamut of visual experience-while popular images like the Campanile, flowers, martini glasses, and guitars are found on nearly every panel, each one takes on its own personality. A particularly interesting aspect of the exhibit is the immense popularity of phospholipid bilayer visual haiku poems-which take on bizarre and whimsical forms that cannot be found in any Bio 1A textbook.

But the most fascinating ones are those that engage the onlooker in a game of visual flirtation. One particular piece depicts two simple mountain peaks and a bird-yet, cock your head to the side and it becomes a sleeping woman with a lock of hair falling over one eye. Another plays with the image of a person drawing a picture of himself drawing this very picture of himself, sending the onlooker into a reverie of double takes. The beauty in many of the drawings lies in their suggestiveness-two expressionless faces, or a woman's bare back blending into a wall.

While some are very meditative, others are delightfully silly in their creativity. Such is the case with a totally blank piece of paper, signed on the back by Max "Nobody's Artist" Brown, or "Mad Presti" (one student's interpretation of what Presti might appear like in a disgruntled state). A distressed Mona Lisa, Batman's Harley Quinn and the last marks of a dying marker are among other noteworthy sketches. Jubilant sperm, dancers, mushrooms, elephants and occasional pieces of drug paraphenelia all add a slice of student life to the display.

Get your parietal lobe tickled anytime on the seventh floor of Eshleman Hall-the exhibit is permanently there until further notice by ASUC.

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