Ocular Physiology, Adaption and Re-Designing The Entrance Rooms.

It is unusual to find yourself in a situation that involves total darkness, this means that light is fully absent. In most situations there will be only partial darkness, some light will amount the dark space some how. With enough time, our eyes will adapt and  begin to see this.

With regards to the entrance rooms as part of the corridor, a space that would allow the viewers eyes to get used to the light before fully immersing into the installation, it seems like the more time a viewer can spend in this area, the better. However it would be fully impractical for them to be waiting a long time (even minutes may be impractical) for the viewers eyes to reach optimum sensitivity.

It can take the human eye several hours to fully adapt to the darkness completely. Naked eye astronomers will wait several hours in darkness before taking part in there job fully; this allows enough time for their eyes to become completely adapted and reach optimum sensitivity.

However the first few moment when exposure to darkness, the quickest gains of sensitivity take place within the eye. The occurs within the pupil, (dark hole in the centre of the eye that lets light into the retina) controlled by the iris, which contracts when confronted with low light, and allows as much light in as possible.  Whereas the cone cells – responsible for seeing colours in the darkness; take about 10 minuets to adapt to the dark fully. (This would be pretty much impossible and  impractical to recreate as park of the corridor) Followed by Rod Cells – responsible for seeing black and white in darkness; take several hours to reach optimum sensitivity.

The pupils contribution takes only a few seconds, up to a minuet to be completed. I have taken this into account when redesigning the entrance rooms to the corridor. By having a space to enter, then have an 8foot walk to the start of the installation gives the viewer enough time to feel more comfortable when entering the installation, as their pupils will have had enough time to dilate in preparation for the darkness. This is rather than having a sudden shock of a flashing strobe, along with feeling the sudden dilation of the pupils resulting in something that is slightly less stress inducing than before.

This transition will also allow the viewer to be inquisitive about what is around the corner. Curiosity should draw people through the entrance door and into the immersive installation.


Above is an image of a small maquette that I produced to figure out the best way of creating a small walkway, enough to last a few seconds to dilate the pupils of a viewer. Each panel is the equivalent to 8foot long. The middle wall, held up by the planks at the top, is the wall that I have been using to test my ideas on. I have also measured an drawn out the ideas on the floor to get a greater idea of the size of the installation that I am dealing with. In theory this will work far more effectively than that of the entrance rooms. What I need to do next is discuss with the tutors that these walls will be available for use on the degree show week, then I can finalise plans and begin the build.


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