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terpretation involved.” Ross says, “I think we started to get an eye for it.”

Believing is seeing

For a study on seeing the whole picture, its researchers had to keep their work hid- den. The experiment required subjects who had no prior knowledge of it, so the team revealed only fragments of their findings during early presentations of the study’s progress. Once their subjects had completed their perception tests, the re- searchers could safely tell all. The team was psychologist Hugh

Foley, Isabel Cain ’12, Jaruda Ithisupha- lap ’13, Maggie Luckhardt ’12, Mila Woodfield ’12, and Beiwen Zhu ’12. It’s been established that humans have a tendency, when shown a tightly focused scene and later asked to draw or describe it, to recall seeing more of the surround- ing background than they actually saw. Foley and company explored a similar— but how similar?—tendency to remem- ber a complete image even when the actual image was partially blacked out. Woodfield says, “The way your mind’s eye can fill in what’s missing is crucial for understanding various kinds of per- ception and memory issues.” Some test subjects were shown 48 photos of objects like an apple or coffee mug or telephone, some complete and some one-half or one-quarter blacked out. Other subjects also saw 48 photos, some in close-up, some at middle dis- tance, and some in a long shot. Later, all were shown 96 images (half of them not previously shown), and for those they re- membered seeing, they were asked to pick which version they’d seen: complete or masked, or in close-up or longer view.

Foley suspects that the mental process of “closure,” or filling in missing por- tions, differs from “boundary extension,” or adding to the edges. He explains, “Our penchant for unconsciously completing incomplete objects may aid us in identi- fying and recalling objects in a scene, while boundary extension may be more about the background than the objects.” And so far, the team’s early data suggest that boundary extension is less prevalent than image com- pletion.

Manual meets digital

“Ever since we took the plastic cover off this old, ignored loom, we’ve been discov- ering all the capa- bilities of this computer-guided machine,” says artist Sangwook Lee, smiling to his student Victoria

wanted to take my inspiration from those vibrant traditions and apply a more mod- ern outlook and technology, to produce something creative and new.” A weaver familiar with computer looms, Lee got the Compu-Dobby’s soft- ware and cabling set up and coached Manganiello on all the working parts, digital and mechanical. Dobby looms use a flat plate that the weaver has perfo- rated, like an old computer punch card,


Manganiello ’12. “I always wanted to fix it and get it working but never had the time.” Summer research gave him that time.

For Manganiello it was also a time to deepen her experience with Ecuadoran textiles, which she’d explored on a trip to visit weavers’ studios, street markets, and galleries. She used Skidmore’s rehabbed Compu-Dobby loom to weave intricate patterns based on the century-old tradi- tional geometrics and colors still popular in the weaving mecca of the Otavalo region. She says, “I

to guide the crossing and interlacing of various threads in patterns too complex to follow from memory. The Compu- Dobby replaces the hole-punched tem- plates with software controls. Either way, the artist conceives the pattern and cre- ates the template. Manganiello has stud- ied weaving for a couple of years but says, “This loom is a whole new level for me.” She adds, “Now that we got it working, we’ll leave behind the software and pat- terns for future students.”

While Lee was tinkering with the loom and its laptop, Manganiello did further research on loom technologies and on the craft’s culture and tradi- tions in Ecuador. With that informa- tion and insight, and with her new weavings in hand and photographed, they hope to publish an article in a fiber-arts magazine. —SR


FALL 2010 SCOPE 11


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