Emotional Salience

The salience (also called saliency) of an item – be it an object, a person, a pixel, etc. – is the state or quality by which it stands out relative to its neighbors. Saliency detection is considered to be a key attentional mechanism that facilitates learning and survival by enabling organisms to focus their limited perceptual and cognitive resources on the most pertinent subset of the available sensor data.

If emotional memory is distilled down to be a function of self-preservation, a biological hardwiring to protect us from harm, is it truly possible to make salient the fulfillment of happiness? 

Or will we inescapably circle the drain, periodically buoyed by brief flashes of camaraderie, love, and satisfaction?

This is my ongoing visual dissertation on the applications of emotional salience.

This project visually documents moments of particular emotional charge in my own life–to explore this topic in emotion instead reason, and pictures instead of words. ︎

In the burn of the southern sun, we walked
into an art gallery that had forgotten to
lock its doors. In the dark of the upper
room and the heat of trapped air, we
explored under the guise of unknown visitors

Pomona, July 2017

For all of my life,
the only sensation I could remember 
was a love that made me shiver

Berkeley, July 2017