Selective Disturbance II is a video piece inspired by the modularity of the brain’s vision system and the similar separation of color and movement in digital video.

In digital broadcast television, color data and movement data are sent separately to save bandwidth. Bizarre and by now familiar glitches occur when color data is lost and the movement of one shot is combined with the color of the previous shot.

Visual cognition is similarly specialized. Not only does the brain have specific regions devoted to color and movement, but shape, facial recognition, facial expressions, distance... all have specific areas of the brain devoted to them. We know this because if a “selective disturbance” occurs, such as localized brain damage, a person can lose the ability to understand movement, or facial expressions, or some other very specific task.

It would seem that our visual cognitive system is thoroughly fractured and segmented, yet our conscious experience seems fluid and whole. Digital broadcast tries (and very often fails) to maintain an intelligible image of combined color and motion from separate streams of data.

Selective Disturbance II splits a self-portrait into separate streams of movement and color, then recombines them. The suggestion from the study of neuroscience, that our conscious experience is fragmented and distributed, is made explicit through the parallel processes of video compression, and the image perpetually dissolves and reforms as a result.