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The Needle in a Haystack: Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

Tchalenko, John (2002) The Needle in a Haystack: Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Tchalenko, John

Exhibition at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, accompanied by catalogue (containing essay by Tchalenko) and 15 minute DVD film “The Needle in a Haystack: Strategies of Visual Search in Art, Medicine and Daily Life.

The Eye Control project (2001-2004) from which this research originated, was a Wellcome Trust funded project comparing visual search strategies in art (e.g. in observational drawing) and in medicine (e.g. in X-ray diagnosis). It was undertaken jointly with Imperial College Computing Department whose role was confined to providing eye track equipment and processing the medical part of the data.

In parallel to addressing the specialist, our main emphasis was to generate enthusiasm amongst a younger generation of potential scientists and artists. This was achieved on the science side with the Royal Society exhibition display (see 1.1) which was voted as the 2nd most popular display of the show. On the art side, we were invited by David Hockney and Alan Jones to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show 2004 examples of free-eye drawing (drawn with the eyes alone) by four international artists.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

"My approach to research is guided by two principles. First, that there is a clear distinction between subject of research and method of investigation. Whereas the former must be sharply focused within a particular field of knowledge, the latter must be free to explore and use whatever disciplines and tools seem the most appropriate. Since 1990 my subject of research has been artistic creativity and my method of investigation has made use of biomedical and psychophysical techniques. The challenge is to combine the rigour of scientific studies, where research means advancing a well-defined subject in a verifiable way, with artistic investigation, where progress takes place in domains beyond the purely rational and measurable observation.

Second, that research must result in two parallel and equally important modes of output: peer-reviewed (journals, conferences) and popular (exhibitions, films, media). This is not only because, as a professional and public individual I have an obligation to communicate in both constituencies, but also because the effort required to operate simultaneously in these two modes benefits the advancement of the subject under study.

A unifying thread throughout my research is a strong reliance on visual observation. By closely observing a phenomenon, and if necessary, by inventing tools to aid in the observation, fundamental underlying truths may be discovered. In virtually all fields of investigations involving the world around us these truths are there to be grasped if our observational skills are sufficiently advanced. My present work consists in observing how people draw and paint, using scientific tools to monitor eye, brain and hand behaviour, and the results are beginning to throw light on the process by which the brain transforms the external visual world into the artist's picture, i.e. on artistic creativity." - John Tchalenko, 2006

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts
Date: 2002
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Related Websites: http://www.arts.ac.uk/research/drawing_cognition/eyecontrol.htm
Related Websites:
Related Publications: Exhibition catalogue brochure “Cognitive visual search strategies” 2002. Tchalenko J., 2002. Cognitive Visual Search Strategies. The Royal Society, London: Catalogue Publication 2003 Summer Show.
Projects or Series: Eye Control
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, U.K.2002
BBC Tomorrow’s World, Earls Court London.2002
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2010 09:12
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2010 09:27
Item ID: 2335
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/2335

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