Night Vision

Something very special happens when you read this text. Information, shaped like light, enters your eye. Through a complex system of nerve- and sensory cells, the information is then translated into stimuli that your brain will receive.

Your brain will then combine the various stimuli into a presentation of the objects, spaces and images around you: your sight! 

Human sight has been evolving over the course of thousands of years and today we’re seeing more than ever before. Every day we’re confronted with an abundance of (advertising) images: sometimes hundreds or even thousands per day. With numbers like these, you’d almost forget that there was a time –before the written word was invented- that we communicated our messages mainly by speaking or even singing them. You could say that an oral tradition has made way for an image culture, and our eyes now play a more important role than our ears in our communication. This has changed our society in a drastic way: even though we exchange information much faster through images, we often receive them in a much more passive and less critical way.

With their installation Night Vision, Tom Biddulph and Barbara Ryan honour our ‘windows on the world’. You can tell that Biddulph and Ryan are both graphic designers from their use clean lines and a clear image: transforming their eye in what is truly an icon. Boats that pass underneath the bridge form an important part of the artwork: they symbolise beams of light entering the eye. As visitors we’re not just looking at the city- but in a way, the city is looking right back at us.

About the artist

Tom Biddulph (UK, 1991) and Barbara Ryan (UK, 1992) met while they were studying graphic design at Kingston University in London. Not long after, they moved to Amsterdam, where they have been working separately as a freelance art director and designer for various creative agencies. In addition, they work together on a variety of projects, from photography to publishing.

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© Bart Heemskerk