Thursday, August 30, 2012

Light and thy Effects on Human Experience

Matthew Weikert
Light and thy Effects on Human Experience

            Often when an observed atmosphere is discussed, whether it be designed or natural, light is one of the main concerns.  Atmosphere inside, outside, or in any space is directly linked with its light because fundamentally we cannot perceive without it.  But from human experience we know that light is not the same everywhere, and could never be unless highly influenced.  Light differences define a place’s purpose, a person’s behavioral response, and how we artificially perceive time.
            The most basic and yet complex origin of light is from nature.  Bioluminescence, thermal sources, chemical reactions, and solar energy (to name a few) were there from the beginning and are still some of the hardest to control and comprehend when it comes to their light properties.  Sunrises, for example, are quite often studied in many respects such as photography, cinematography and even literature, but no two are ever the same as the reading extrapolates to us.  The same event can even differ greatly a few yards away not to forget about what diverges with different climate, altitude, latitude, air particle level, time, local flora, soil & water color and humidity.  There are sure to be hundreds of differing considerations that change our perception. 
            One of the most memorable sunrises of my life was on the Aegean Sea.  I awoke just before dawn on a ferry my group boarded the night before in Italy.  Unfortunately for them I was the only one awake to witness the sun rise above the sea and shine onto the clouds before we docked in Greece.  Although I was tired and the day had just begun, I knew as far as human experience was concerned that few would have the opportunity to witness something this selectively special and even less would appreciate it for that reason.

            To better understand what occurred out there we could analyze the situation by breaking it down into unknown factors and all that had to transpire for that particular experience.  Most importantly the time was correct; a later or earlier transport would have rendered the whole occurrence null.  The climate of the Mediterranean was brisk at the time, but relatively steady winds and a storm from the night before kept the air clear until it hit higher altitudes where some clouds remained.  Positioned around the 36 degree latitude we were about halfway between the equator and the North Pole so the light angle would not have been the strongest, but at sunrise the difference is minimal.  At sea level the full spectrum of the sun could be absorbed and then visually doubled due to the mirroring of the water’s surface. 
            All of these factors lent themselves to this one perception.  Any difference and the light would have changed, the experience would have changed.  An infinite number of differing experiences could have been had.  But what does another experience matter?  It all depends on the final relationship of task.  The most important task in life to me personally is to experience and enjoy those experiences.  The light in this instance helped me accomplish that goal.

A Healthy Glow

Matthew Weikert
A Healthy Glow

            It’s an interesting vantage point to view light as something other than an element in design.  The farthest past that basic knowledge which we have explored was only how light effects behavior or how it can define a social interaction in a given environment.  But now layered on top of everything else is this knowledge of how light can influence health and safety.
            Safety is one of the most logical and practical applications for light.  In any work environment for ample light is needed to see to perform tasks efficiently and without risk.  Lights can be used to highlight certain areas of precaution or importance as well as indicate information that may assist with safety.  Good lighting could also be used to ensure mental safety as well.
            The main influence of these articles however was the underlying applications of certain light and how that pertained to health.  Back at the workplace, light can be used to ensure enough vitamin D is absorbed as well as keep the proper circadian cycles in place.  In hospitals and at home the light can be adjusted to increase immune systems and to assist with sleeping.  Into the future light can be deconstructed more to find better health benefits and more unique uses such as blue light to help long term focus. 
            With the introduction of artificial light and the disruption of our natural cycles we have been hindered mentally and health wise.  But as the articles state with recent and future findings we may benefit into the future much more than we have in the past.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lighting Scavenger Hunt

This fluorescent lighting gave a uniform and very bright glow to this location.  Although the area had high clarity and appeared open due to the light, the space was also tense and unpleasant.

The interior space here was nicely lit with non-uniform, dim to medium lighting which gave it an intimate appeal.  These lamps provided a slightly unfocused source which brought the space together, making it relaxed and pleasant.