Tablet with stylus

Above: Tablet and stylus. Credit: Tero Vesalainen, Finland.


Above: Cell phone. Credit: Arek Socha, Stockholm.

User interacts with touch-sensitive device-screen

Above: User interating with flat touch-sensitive display-screen. Credit: Rawpixel.

Diagram of human vision

Above: Diagram of the human field-of-vision. Credit: Zyxwv99.

Samsung note 8

Above: Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 2017 press-and-promotional image. Credit: Samsung Newsroom U.S. Gallery.


The rise to ubiquity of the glossy, depthless, uniform, super-flat, pristine surface of the computer-device screen tends to promote a specific mode of human vision: the emphasis is massively on the central macular vision with peripheral--or lateral--vision hardly used at all and so, "we lose the sense of lateralization [or peripheralization] ... richness ... relief ... depth-of-field ... our natural 'stereo' reality (ADF: 37)." This loss of lateral vision is an unwelcome and in fact horrifying development because human vision-perception, in order to be fully functioning, requires visual sensory data also from the periphery to also be processed, "lateral vision is very important and it is not by chance that animals' eyes are [sometimes] on the sides of their heads. Their survival depends on anticipating surprise, and surprises never come head-on (ADF: 37)." And so it is for humans who are becoming less able to anticipate surprise and unexpected movements. We are monomaniacally focused on the events that are front-and-centre immediately ahead of us--just as the F1 racing driver whose vision 'tunnels' at high speed blotting out all but a small segment of the road. Due to the pervasiveness of the computer screen and its immaculate flat surface we are entering an era in which perspective (as it was fetishized by the artists of the High Renaissance) is becoming less relevant to perceptual-visual experience. We are entering a post-perspective epoch in which "everything is collapsed onto a single surface, the interface of the monitor (VW: 85)." In this way the rise to popularity of the computer monitor can be described as "the implementation of another optics (VW: 85)." The glossy computer-device screen can also be conceptualized as a replacement to the physical street-level glass shop-window that was once such an iconic motif in nineteenth- and twentieth-century commentaries on consumerism (PI: 18-19).