Strangeness of Seeing

By Nichola Bruce


Strangeness of Seeing is a body of work including a series of 26 films and installations developed over a period of four years in collaboration with artist and performer Rebecca E Marshall.

I was awarded a NESTA Fellowship (2002-2006) which allowed me to explore perception and the moving image. What became apparent to me following the completion of my first feature (I Could Read the Sky, Artificial Eye) was that, as I was trying to recreate various states of memory, I discovered I knew very little about the entire process of how my eye received information and how my mind stored it.

What followed over the first year of the fellowship was a period of intense research, mentored by R.L. Gregory. I interviewed many people about how they thought they saw and remembered. I would begin by asking them to recall their earliest memory and then ask them to try and describe the physical and mental processes they were experiencing as their mind searched to recall, both with their eyes open and closed.

Out of this and my own subjective experiences, I wrote down and drew extensively in notebooks over the following years. I then painted many of my experiences such as After Images and other various Entoptic Visions. Simultaneously I began working closely with Rebecca Marshall setting up a series of filmed experiments and further developing the ideas that we felt would evoke the particular experiences that go towards creating a sense of seeing.

The body of work finally developed into an Alphabet of Vision. Each film is approximately two/three minutes long; they were shot on mini DV and edited in Final Cut in my Hastings Studio. Some of the source material came from my lifelong archive of moving images RANDOMETER.

The Strangeness of Seeing installation, a journey through vision, can be seen at Hastings Castle, Sussex, on August 4th during the ‘Shot by the Sea’ Festival (

Nichola Bruce ( is a NESTA Fellow. NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) is an organisation that invests in innovators and works to improve the climate for creativity in the UK (

Photos copyright Bruce + Marshall