Blink Through Someone Else’s Eyes

  • BY Justin Alvarez

When’s the last time you thought about your eyes blinking? The act of blinking is so quick – the average blink occurs in just 100-400 milliseconds – and such a semi-autonomic function that one tends to forget it even occurs, however essential it is.

Artist Michael Kohút has managed to match a blink’s speed in his new art installation, 0,1. Viewers are asked to put on a pair of glasses equipped with a sensor, and every time the wearer blinks the lights in the room shut off, so fast that the person wearing the glasses doesn’t even notice.

As Kohút told Fast Company, “In the moment when someone wears the glasses, he or she is becoming a part of the machine. They don’t notice anything; they just start a performance for the rest of the audience. Sometimes no one notices the point, but this is also part of the experience.

What’s impressive about the installation is that Kohút and team managed to match the speed of blinking. “At the beginning of the development, I tried to make it with cameras,” Kohút continued, “but it didn’t work well – it wasn’t fast enough. So I realized that I couldn’t do it only by myself.” Kohút seeked out advice from a technical university, and what resulted was the creation of a senor that would be able to read the reflection of the eye and quickly react whenever there is a rapid change. “Whenever the sensor reads a rapid change, the microprocessor evaluates it as an eye blink and turns the light off. The lights then stay off until you open your eyes again.”

While the glasses wearer doesn’t notice the lights turning on and off, it must be interesting – however peculiar – to “share” the blinking experience with another person. See the experience for yourself in the video above.