Distance and fixity is all about periphery.
Peripheral vision feels like an extension, a way to see more expansively, more fully. In that understanding there seems to be an implied optimality. Improve the lucidity of this field through cognizance of it, through exercises designed to heighten awareness of intermittent events that happen within it, or through the performance of hand-eye coordinated tasks situated at its edge.
Eyes forward. Raise your hand when the bendy lines appear, the right for the right, the left for the left. Place the toothpick in the straw, and so on.
I read a study that discussed how peripheral vision is actually an optical illusion, a perceptual mechanism that attempts to fill in the blanks of what falls outside of our central focus or foveal vision. The peripheral then is characterized by less detail - a failing ability to distinguish between colours and shapes. It is prone to degradation. Visuality, or more specifically its acuity, is rendered dull and indistinct.
The standard definition for peripheral vision is simply that which you see at the side. It is categorized by this tangential nature, always a space or image beyond what exists within your direct line of sight. Given this and its illusionary capacity, peripheral vision might also be understood as perpetually elsewhere and always unfixed. It is something contextual, and that context is constantly forming, unforming, and reforming. Things coalesce in foveal vision and they disperse in peripheral vision. Both coexist simultaneously, but in different registers. The former pushes towards the conscious and present, while the latter pushes towards the unconscious and temporaneous.
Focused sight is often rational; it is used as a divining rod to intuit and construct functional understanding. Legibility is fundamental to this approach. But there are various ways that we see. The indefinable or less apparent - the blur that manifests in the outliers of our peripheral vision - makes depth perception and the performance of spatial movements possible. It is this condition of sight that allows us agency.
To draw a line between physiological modes of seeing, or more specifically peripheral vision and cognition, is to similarly position the act of knowing within spheres of deferral and obfuscation. It is a kind of porous comprehension that is always arriving, that is always actionable.
Liza Eurich completed her BFA from Emily Carr University in 2010 and her MFA from Western University in 2012. She co-publishes the online project Moire and recently completed international residencies at SIM (Reykjavik, IS), Acme Studios (London, UK), Glasgow Sculpture Studios (Glasgow, UK) and Banff (Banff, AB). Her work has been exhibited at Stride (Calgary), Neutral Ground (Regina), Hamilton Artists Inc., Plug-In ICA (Winnipeg), Macintosh Gallery (London,ON), Open Studio, G Gallery, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Toronto). She currently resides in London, Ontario.