This exercise reminded me of a wonderful presentation I attended by Amy Herman, whose work is to help people hone their perception skills using works of art.
As a kid I loved looking at optical illusions and prided myself on being able to notice the various images represented. One of the things I was struck by with Amy’s presentation was how much I didn’t see. Amy walks you through several works of art, asking you questions that help you realize the importance of not only noticing the presence of things, but the absence of things too.
Through the course of her presentation, you become more aware that the observations we make visually and the words we use to communicate those observations can be clouded by assumptions and judgments. Instead of just reporting the facts of what we see and what we don’t see, we allow our experience to shape things in a way that might set us on an unintended path.
Amy’s work is unique and has been used with a variety of professionals, including those in law enforcement, industry, medicine, and education. After personally experiencing her approach, I feel that it could have a much broader appeal.
Check out her company, The Art of Perception.