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  • Kate Louise Overnight

Icarus Descending

This is the artwork displayed in Brussels,France at the Brueggels  Museum of Icarus Descending( see wikipedia.org) Landscape with the fall of Icarus. It depicts a father,Daedalus, and his son, Icarus in  a Greek Mythological story, that tells of Daedelus, a master craftsman, who built wings for him and his son to escape the dangers of a creature that was threatening them. The father built the wings out of feathers and wax. They were flying high, when  Icarus, ignoring the warnings of his father flew too close to the sun and the wax melted, and Icarus fell into the sea. It is very hard to see in this photo, but if you look closely near the ship you can see the legs of Icarus kicking upside down in the water while his father Daedalus looks down from his position in the sky.


EyeBlinkPress wants to focus on the themes this art brings to mind, for example:


1) No one is noticing that Icarus has fallen into the sea, except the watchful, momentarily helpless father.


2) No one is noticing Daedalus, the hovering winged creature. It looks as though one of the humans is looking up, but it is hard to tell if he/she is staring at the Plowman


3) No one is trying to help Icarus or  question Daedalus about  the splendor of his invention.


EyeblinkPress seeks to pay attention to those events that are not noticed by everyone, because they are too consumed with surviving. Their focus is on caring for their immediate surroundings, paying attention to what is right in front of them. This is not all bad, but it signifies, as wikepedia research pointed out in a Flemish proverb " the farmer continues to plow" , the ignorance of people to follow men's suffering.


EyeBlink Press thinks that  there is more to analyse than an "ignorance of people" in this artwork. People sometimes just wish to concentrate on their own life. Just as Daedalus and Icarus were intent in saving themselves and leaving as fast as possible to avoid violence, without so much as thinking about the farmer at his plough, or the sailors in their workaday ships, the farmer cannot be blamed for keeping his eye on the ball.


At  the same time, because the farmer was so focused, he may not have seen at all Icarus plummeting into the sea.


Consider the Attentional Blink phenonmenon being studied for awhile. This is not to say that our farmer had so many phenonmenon  presented to him that he missed Icarus' fall, but given the visual stimulation of birds flying by, ships passing, horses slowing down and speeding up, mosquitos biting; all those things of distraction, could have explained the good  farmer's ignorance of Icarus, much less Daedalus' flitting about.

See Wikepedia for more info on attentional blinking. and the link provided in the column  to the left.


Attentional blink (AB) is a phenomenon observed in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). When presented with a sequence of visual stimuli in rapid succession at the same spatial location on a screen, a participant will often fail to detect a second salient target occurring in succession if it is presented between 200–500 ms after the first one. Attentional blink was first described in 1992.[1]

Attentional blink (AB) is a phenomenon observed in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). When presented with a sequence of visual stimuli in rapid succession at the same spatial location on a screen, a participant will often fail to detect a second salient target occurring in succession if it is presented between 200–500 ms after the first one. Attentional blink was first described in 1992.[1]

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