© 2011 smitten 20110511-060216.jpg

Persistence of Vision (Saccadoscopoeia)

So the artwork, Saccadoscopoeia by Bill Bell in the University Station bus/light rail tunnel has been bugging me for … well years at this point. It was installed in 1990, so it’s really been getting Seattlites for much longer than my time with it. Why on earth would they have random blinking vertical LEDs? What does it mean? How is this art when it should just cause an epileptic seizure??


I’ve always been able to do this thing with my eyes, not sure if it’s commonplace, but it’s cool for me, where I rattle them back and forth really quickly. I can count the number of spokes on car wheels as they’re driving down the highway, see the red, green, and blue lights individually layered in projectors and images revealed in this art. I would bet that you can too. When you flick your eyes across the vertical blinking lights really fast you can see lots of things: boats, words, crabs, fish, planes and lots of other northwest things. Give it a shot the next time you’re there. Your eyes are playing tricks on you and the light is persisting just long enough in your retina to make one of these images.






One Comment

  1. Jonathan Turner
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 1:03 am | #

    My daughter and I have noticed for years, it may have been her that pointed it out to me actually. I really think it is a great piece of art for what is hidden or masked is the most beautiful. I think that it is still one of the best kept secrets, even to most Seattlites…

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