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52°27'58.4"N 13°28’11.1"E

Berlin DE

I got out of the appointment feeling overwhelmed, my eye sight had decreased since the last time I seen a doctor . I do all what I do, seeing less than half of the world. 

35% in one side 40% in the other. 

Thinking only in biological evolution , without taking in consideration any means of ethereal perception, our species is sensorially dependent on vision, about 70% of our capacity of sensing happens though sight.
Our eyes are so important that its orientation define postural patterns, neural development, and also the overall ability of sensing , once the body has to orient itself towards sensation, having the eyes playing a key role in this interface.

The unknown is a geographic location, which invites the development of skills and vocabularies of cooperation.

MOUNTAINEER: studies for bouldering darkness, is a wish to transform my ability of sensing through an immersive exploration with the mountain as a metaphor.

The research explores blindness as a boulder, integrating range in physical lexicon with forms of navigation. Aiming to surface the particular dexterity of the visual impaired in journeying their senses in a world dominantly visual. 

We are fucking mountaineers. We are brave enough to fall, bump and still carry on our routes. It takes us double of the effort to go through the day, but we ascend because patience isn’t an option but a quality we are forced to acquire.

60°26'37.1"N  22°15'06.4"E
careful listener

Turku FN
with Sindri Runudde

Making company to what you can’t (yet) see, I lean my attention into the listening and the haptic field of what you try to say when you pause — In between the speech of your wanting, needs and desires. Orienting my own curiosity, I navigate to track the dances we still didn’t hunt. The task of predation can well take us to the limits of our endurance — our inherent physical patience. 

Sindri and Madonna

We live on the twilight. For not seeing, we loose or break when not attentive. This mode of sensing only soften when our worlds go asleep — with our heads on the pillow we agreed with how good is to rest this world from its vision, allowing time for the eyes to finally forget to see. As a rescue place or either our only chance for disengagement.

The next day we sit side by side facing front, and start describing how we see. After a while we realize that the world shows itself to us as essence : whatever is in my periphery enters “the substance zone”, while what is in the center for you evaporates. 

We witness the plasticity of the worlds grain, its plasma.
Our eyes do not see ordinarily. Faces of lovers become one with the background. Glasses of wine, get mixed with the counter. While by my side, I hear your voice from a diluted form that had been your body…

We aren’t losing eyesight but loosen the view… Seeing the intimacy of a world that dissolves itself into a substantial state of undifferentiated union. where everything desires everything and form comes only through the effort of attention.

The eagerness of this world to embrace itself, appears on the comfort we feel by being together. 

29°29'49.0"S  50°18'36.0"W

Maquiné BR

Marcio's Retina and Fovea in both eyes

Mine Retina and Fovea in the Left and Right eye

The unknown as geographical location:
Correlations are made of observations and inventiveness, in choosing to spend time alone in the Brazilian Rain Forest, I discover a representation of my visual field on a landscape.
The specific eye retinopathy I inherit is considered rare it affect 1 in 3000 of the population, it leads to progressive loss of photoreceptors cells, starting with the rod cells in the retina, you probably have around 100 million of this cells in your eyes. This  type of photoreceptor cells deal with low light levels and periphery vision. 
In dim light, in the morning and evening or in woodlands, the low number of photons that a receptor cell receives start to limit the vision. Small numbers of photons, arriving at random, make to a “noisy signal” .
At the forest’s valley, Im surrounded by rods, light takes longer to permeate the landscape. The stones and hills breaks the horizon line, making it closer to you. Is easy to find the end of sight. Green is the mid wavelength we can perceive, making it for a calming colour to be surrounded by. Wood as an element, and here is where I start to mix even more with correlation and representations, is understood by Chinese Medicine as the element of the eyes, the element of movement, the element of wind, the element of the liver and gallbladder, the element associated to anger, the element that feeds the fire, the element that is fead by water, the element of vision.
This valley, of Atlantic Brazilian rain forest is also being bought, since land is something one can owns in the human world, by Chineses too, so I borrow the knowledge they bring.
In our eyes the processes that start to convert light into signals that will make images is called transduction cascades, in the valley there are few waterfalls and some bigger cascades a bit further from where I camp. 
The valley is a dynamic place, the weather can change on unpredictable ways, the river changes everyday by drying up or getting full, the landscape too, trees fall, animals have their time and some visit around, the floor is unstable, is hard to find flat land. As it is when you deal with a progressive disease, they are dynamic and adaptation is a constant endeavour.
I felt inside a big retina, where the fovea (the little area of your retina where you make the most sharp and colourful vision) was the river. I had never camp alone before, mostly because I never felt I could, our ability of seeing is highly related to our sense of safety and security. Eyes did evolve over 500 million years ago mostly for helping species orienting themselves towards food, predation, or avoiding being a pray, and also finding mates, and recognising individuals of the same species, later also became fundamental for socialisation… and in us to cultural development, since there isn’t evolution of eyes without evolution of brains able to render the immense input of data received through light.


wood ash & water on mineral 2023

This place knows about you, because independent of where you are it feels what you do. A week before coming here, the weather conditions were so atypical, that I thought I would not be able to camp. It had rained more then 200 mm creating floods and leaving some areas isolated. The district of Barra do Ouro, where is the area of forest I was going, was one of the most affected. Before that there was a long period of drouth, none of this extreme conditions and sharp weather changes are normal in the region.
This place knows about you, because while I was lucky to have access to it, because the weather improved, and because I had people to guide me there, instructing me about its biodiversity and history. It made me evoke many presences, which made me company in thought, every time I stood in awe thinking how much some people I know would love there. And by that moment of insight, I brought them to that valley. And the valley knew about you.
This place knows about you, because it was gentle to me. It knew I can’t see well, and it showed me it most gentle facet. It remind me that its a landscape, and as a landscape it is always bigger and more powerful than human, when for example, in my first night the most poisonous species of spider in Brazil, pay me a visit. I had not killed, I just pushed away from the tent. In this area also lives two of the most poisonous snakes from the country. A bite from it would kill me in few hours. Also there are many species of wasps, and in this particular part of the year, they are very active. In the day of arrival, before staying alone, two of my guides where bitten by wasps, I was just by them and was never bitten. Rare to see, but here is also home for pumas. The land is very unstable, the risk of foot torsions and accidents are big, but the place knew about me.
After the week had past, a local told me I was really lucky, since they never had such a great weather continuously. It was never too cold, never too humid, never too hot, the sky was bright blue every single day. I had seen so many butterflies, many of  them landed in me. I have seen dragon flies fucking, some even fucked on top of my belly. Dragonflies are bioindicators of air and water purity, since they are delicate insects to environmental changes.
This place knows about you, It knew about me, and it allowed me to explore and meet its gentle side. It took care of me, it quench my thirst and was wildly kind.


wood ash & water on mineral 2023


wood ash & water on mineral 2023


wood ash & water on mineral 2023

At the end of each day I sit looking the sky, and while all disappear, I watched the world be swallowed by sound.  I stay in the dark, listening its voices for as long I could bare. In my first night it wasn’t more then one hour, my mind would create the most implausible of fictions to justify its discomforts. Wasn’t the movement of animals that steer fear, but my storytelling, unknown creatures, aliens, ghosts or human hunters. It took me few days to stay out and listen the night progressively getting quieter. By 2:00 the voices are softer, but they aren’t silenced. By 5:30 the birds get louder and louder as if celebrating the arrival of light. I had never seen a starry sky, but I hear about it, and I will keep going out to listen at it…


wood ash & water on mineral 2023

The wood desires is also its end - LIGHT & FIRE
In my 6th day at the woods, I felt the dampness of the landscape, the river swallowed, and I took the wood ashes from my cooking to the shore. For the first time I was seeing dead butterflies along that way. The valley knew about my mourning. In my eyes, I turn my rods into ashes, so them I cover myself in wood ash that day, and stay with for long to feel its memories. Later the same water that once fead that wood, clean the ashes that once fead the fire, that cook the minerals that had fead me.

Are ashes the memory of wood or the memory of fire?


wood ash & water on mineral 2023


wood ash & water on mineral 2023



wood ash & water on mineral 2023

Click in the image to download a short Zine presentation of WOOD LIGHT in PDF, Portuguese/English.

this time outdoors was only possible thanks to the kindness and very informative insights of Lúcio Kerber Canabarro and Aterra-Arte Corpo e Ambiente.   

52°31'43.5"N 13°20'01.4"E
A place to cry the vision out of my eyes: eyesight & navigation the endless 

Berlin DE

I deep inhale, still half asleep I feel very lost.

Where am I? What am I supposed to wake up for? Is it weekend? Am I late? Do I have to catch a flight or a train? Do I work today? Which dance piece?
My vision is particularly blurry in this morning. I itch my eyes, trying to grasp any visual cue from the room that can place me in the context I woke up into. Anything, the shape of the table, the colour of the blanket, the texture of the wall. For many, very uncomfortable minutes I can't locate, and more I ask myself, more confused I grow.
I touch the floor without leaving the bed, searching for my glasses or phone. The knowledge of time and day are references that can ground cues for orientation. I check the time, and is past noon. A very unusual time for me to wake up on a Wednesday. This might be a jet-leg. "Im in Europe" I think, at this season there is five hours difference between Germany and South Brazil. "Im home again, towards the East side of the Atlantic Ocean, Im in Berlin..."
Vision, plays a huge role in our sense of safety. The perception of light gives orientation to most living species, from microscopic organisms to plants. The development of photoreceptor cells had place a big pressure in life evolution, the complete  series of transformations, evolving photoreceptor to eyes, has been active in roughly half million years, what is quite a short time span considering the development of a very complex sense, this also reinforces the great importance of sight as an evolutionary technology.

In the interface between the Precambrian and the Cambrian periods around 555 million years ago, on a span of less the 5 million years, a rich fauna of microscopic animals evolved, and many of them had eyes. This evolutionary event known as Cambrian Explosion, brought up nearly all the phyla and the ancestors of the animals we have in the world today.

The “invention” of visually-guided predation appear to be for many scientists a trigger for this unique evolutionary event, attributing to vision a big alteration of the ecological system, because both sight and speed of locomotion can improve by general increase in animal size, meaning that visually-guided behaviour offers an understanding of the sudden appearance of macroscopic animals, setting an evolutionary arm race between predators and pray, where different strategies for protection and mobility evolve hand in hand with the first eyes and the environment they were form to see.
Increased eye resolution could not exist without brains able to process the visual data. In our species around 27% of our cortex is visual, against, for example only 8% for auditory function or 7%  for motor function. Our Retina, the tunic in the back of our eyes, where photo-reception happens, is an outgrowth of the brain while it is in embryological development. There, is where rods and cone photoreceptor cells dwell. Our vision start by the transformation of light to chemical signals in a compound protein called rhodopsin, found on the membrane of cones and rods cells.  Rhodopsin is composed of opsin and a molecule related to vitamin A - chromophore.
The chromophore binds with light and has its structured changed, and this change is what starts the transduction cascades, the first step in processing light into image. 
When I learn this first, I felt that vision is the queerest of all senses, and its queerness is exposed by its chemistry. Chromophore first, without capturing photon energy, is a molecule found on the form 11-cis. When light is absorbed the 11-cis molecule is converted to a different form called all-trans. So, the conversion of 11-cis to all-trans is what starts the visual process. I am pretty sure the chemists that found this out, didn’t think that the names of the two different forms of chromophore could be applied “in light” of queer and gender issues…
Left eyeball-2_edited.jpg

Márcio's notes

In order to see, the brain needs to receive action potentials, from the rods and cone cells. Human eyes need 6 photons in order to have an action potential being send to the brain. This is the limit of our vision, this is the dimmest of light where you would be able to see. Our photoreceptors are somehow always starving for light. The time between photo absorption to image decoding at the occipital cortex, in the back of your head, is of 20 milliseconds. During a regular day, we are all blind for an average of 1:30 hours, because of the lagging in image processing and eye blinking.
One of the ways of dealing with this delay, is through eye movement. Our eyes somehow are always, quite literally, looking for the future. For example, while walking on uneven terrain, like in the mountains, your eyes tend to be two steps ahead of where you are. It has a quality of forward thinking. And to this quality saccades, that are fast eye movement, and fixation points are essential. Saccades also help to direct our fovea in relation to what we see, or wish to see. The fovea is a small area in the retina, of about 0,6 mm across, composed entirely by cone photoreceptor cells. The three types of cone photoreceptor cells are responsible for the early stages in the process of our colour perception, by differentiating light wave length and signalling this differences as action potentials to the brain, where colour is “made”. The fovea, is responsible for the highest resolution in image. Directing it to different parts of the landscape, through saccades, is what makes you perceive the world as a visual continuation full of colour and depth. This little valley in the retina, is able to see 2 degrees of arc very clearly, this is what we need to recognise a face from about 5 meters distance.
Left eyeball-1.jpf

Márcio's notes

In our brain, saccades are coordinated by the Basal Ganglia, saccades are involuntary movements, meaning that they belong to our autonomous nerve system. The Basal Ganglia is a group of nuclei,  deep in our brain with a variety of functions as motor control, cognition, and emotion. It facilitate the initiation and execution of voluntary movement in the body, as well as to regulate posture, muscle tone, and coordination. It is involved with our ability to learn motor skills too and our vision can influence all this processes. 
Seeing activates different areas of the brain, mostly because in sighted born humans, the wire of the nerve system happens together with visual stimulation. Creating different pathways to the structures vision will contribute with input, as for example the Superior and Lateral Geniculate or the Occipital Cortex. The nature of vision is one of complex beauty. And this is to me the hardest thing of having increasing low sight, the loss of something I profoundly admire as beautiful. There is an uncomfortable and emotional challenge in the thought of the loss of a landscapes immediacy, since vision is such a fast sense, altering the way a mountain can permeates and inhabit my senses through light, and also my access to the mountain. 
Vision is beautiful in my eyes…
Vision is beautiful, also because it reflects in its complexity, the complexity of our own lives, our own selves and our communities by how it all comes to being, how light contributes to form.

Connected to visual perception and eye movement we have the direct involvement of 4 of the 12 cranial nerves: CNII Optic Nerve, CNIII Oculomotor Nerve, CNIV Trochlearis Nerve, CNVI Abducens Nerve. Three of those (CNIII, CNIV, CNVI ), are only responsible for eyeball movement, affecting gaze direction. Gaze direction, has a direct relation to our balance and orientation. The body tend to preserve the parallel orientation of the eyes in relation to the ground, and to do it so it can be extremely creative in producing different postural compensatory patterns, changing angles of vertebrae in the spine, direction of shoulders, hips, it even can influence in the state of the arches of the feet, and where do we place our weight in relation to the ground.

Gaze direction , also influences the orientation of the spine. At the base of the skull our posterior short neck muscles initiate contractions to direct the spine in relation to eye movement, so to keep the notions of front-and-back, sides and up-and-down recognisable.

Márcio's notes

The correlation between eyes, neck, ears and jaw makes most of our navigation and orientation mechanisms. And they share very nuanced neural pathways and relay information about the environment and the state of the organism constantly to each other. Orientation and navigation, are a matter of communication between those structures. Communication between our internal and external environments. 
The ossicles that vibrate in our ear drum share an embryological connection to our mandible. Our mastication muscles, such as the Masseter muscle, the strongest muscle in our body that is at work when you bite, is a highly sensitive structure to stress stimuli, contracting before we can rationalise we are under stress. Its articular pressure has an influence in head positioning, by the bio geometry of other muscles and bone structures, which work together as a set of pulleys and elastic bands that mutually influence one another. 
An available Atlantooccipital joint, the joint at the end of your skull and beginning of your neck, can contribute to our sense of safety, because it optimises our orientation and location processes. Our vestibulocochlear system is concern with hearing and balance. Through the structures of the ear between innervations and nerve exit foramen at the skull we can find also 5 Cranial nerves: CNV Trigeminus Nerve, CNVII Fascial Nerve, CNVIII Vestibulocochlearis,  CNIX Glossopharyngeus Nerve and CNX Vagus Nerve.  The CNV has an optical branch and its third branch (CN V3) innervates the Tensor Tympani muscle a small muscle that protects and modulate our perception of loud or inner sounds , like chewing sounds. This branch also innervates the Masseter muscle mentioned above. 

Márcio's notes

In our inner ear we find the semicircular canals, responsible for the perception of acceleration and direction. They are three semicircular canals positioned  in different angles able to recognise acceleration in any direction. From the sagittal plane of the body we have the anterior semicircular canal at 41 degrees and the posterior at 56 degrees. From the horizontal plane of the body there is the lateral semicircular canal at 25 degrees. The vestibule, where the semicircular canals are, is also responsible for the  Vestibule Ocular Reflex, a reflex that helps maintain stable vision during head movement. The reflex works by generating eye movements in the opposite direction of head movement, allowing us to maintain a stable visual image on the retina.

There is a change in the pattern of neck movement that occurs when vision starts to decline. When we use our neck muscles to compensate for eyeball movement, it is not uncommon the difficulty in releasing the neck muscular tone because the stable position of the head, used as an anchor for orientation for many visually impaired people. This observation has made me question how to provide feedback to dancers on movement and body alignment, since the unique biographical characteristics and ways of navigating the body are not commonly addressed as mechanisms or strategies of security or survival embodied by the dancer. It is as if, especially in dance education, we assume that everyone has similar bodies with similar abilities and experiences.
Navigation is a complex skill, the anatomical apparatus that allow us to be in relation to the world is very layered and here I mention few characteristics to illustrate this complexity.

The challenges of location and navigation becomes even more evident in climbing, tracking or sailing, one of the main challenges is determining one's position on the open sea, unknown region or dense forest, where you dont have clear visual bearings.

Before modern technology such as GPS, sailors relied on a combination of celestial navigation, dead reckoning, and chart reading to determine their position. These methods were often imprecise and required significant skill and experience to be use effectively.

Another challenge of navigation relates to  environmental factors such as weather, wind, currents, and tides. These factors can affect route speed and direction, making it difficult to accurately predict arrival times or course corrections, navigating in unfamiliar waters, for example, where charts may be incomplete or inaccurate, and hazards such as reefs or shoals may increase the difficulty of the task. In such situations, sailors, climbers and mautaineers must rely on their own observations and experience to safely navigate. 

Navigation, Location and Orientation is an immense subject, and I still didn’t touch deep enough Mobility and Orientation for Low-vision and blind people neither Optics. Above all adaptation, experience and practice, with close consideration of ones own circumstances, not only physical but also the emotional environment must be done, and not taken for granted. As planning routes for climbing or sailing and considering environmental influences.

I feel there is so much to embody and discover, even if facing the same mountain, the landscape is never static, it is always dynamic and demands a continuation in dialog, and expansion in vocabulary. This is an endless quest, with no limits for learning, where all subjects can contribute to a body of knowledge that reflects our anatomical complexity and our ability of being inventive.

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