What You See When Your Eyes Are Closed / What You Don’t See When Your Eyes Are Open

Mamoru Irigchi

What You See When Your Eyes Are Closed / What You Don’t See When Your Eyes Are Open Credit: Jo Hanley / Wellcome Collection / Mamoru Iriguchi

Mamoru has a dream, and a nightmare and a reality, and over time they have been one thing and separate things and sometimes mixed together. Has it been three months or forty-six years since he first dreamed of the Cyclops?

Using live animation with invention and integrating creative captioning and audio description as an aesthetic, performance artist Mamoru Iriguchi and his husband Gavin Pringle playfully deconstruct received notions of perception.

What could, perhaps, have been a dry and pretentious refutation of Gibson’s Theory of Direct Perception (1966), What You See… is, in fact an hour packed with warmth and innovation. We are transported to many versions of the same dreams and realities, in which the details keep shifting, according to Mamoru’s world view and influences at the time, from birth to the present situation.

Gibson asserts that humans interpret the world as “data”, represented here by flattening everything into projected images. Mamoru asserts that we don’t view the world passively (like a TV), rather that we are engaging in an ongoing reciprocal process, a shared experience, as exemplified in live performance.

Gavin and Mamoru are presented as themselves and as characters of themselves, managing animation wizardry and audience interaction in a way that is affable and unfussy, in the spirit of enthusiastic inquiry. In doing so, Iriguchi and Pringle not only raise questions about perception, but also the relationship between audience and performer, dreams and reality.

Clever, without being pretentious, witty but never flippant, this truly unique production explores complex ideas with a sense of fun, using personal stories to interrogate academic theory in a way that is joyful, engaging and accessible—genius!

Reviewer: Tony Trigwell-Jones

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