Virtual art and eye strain

2020-12-13 @Blog

After a long enough period of intense staring at virtual paintings, my eyes began to genuinely hurt. In hindsight, I couldn’t recall how many years it’s been that I strained my vision to such extent after a mere hour.

Despite the convenience of having a personally catered and highly categorized museum at home on the computer screen ( facilitates this well), the immense detail in this kind of fine art causes the eyes to exert thrice the effort of even standard video content or graphical web browsers normal people use.

Now being a paper-book reader, I’ve not an extensive array of art books. And not about to pursue that avenue … In fact, maybe the eye strain is my queue to avoid yet further sophisticated means of entertainment. Basta.

And there you have one more reason to transition your computer interaction to text, to ASCII, to terminal Unix-based apps, and even to an entirely terminal-based workflow:

  1. Conserve your eyesight. That, and
  2. Terminal apps are considerably lighter, enabling you to operate on ten-year old hardware.
  3. Avoid distracting graphical features that divert attention and rob energy.
  4. Be much quicker. Graphical applications normally demand a mechanically daunting mouse-and-click form of interaction. Text/console-based apps enable a keyboard/shortcut key mode of operation. Less hampering motion, greater productivity.
  5. Don’t depend on opaque commercial products or cloud applications.
  6. Likewise, don’t depend on internet access for a continuous mode of operation.

Most of my routine, information-retrieval sort of web browsing, I handle via the W3M text browser.

Web pages render light-grey text against a black background, the de-facto color scheme for everything across my terminal.

Images don’t render at all. Distracting advertisements or even regular attention-robbing menus somehow get pushed out of the way (if at all displayed) such that text occupies the entire viewing area. And the interaction occurs lightning fast, since W3M renders strictly the text content - nothing of JavaScript, nothing graphical.

But back to eye strain. Yes, all of this conserves your eyesight, beyond the removal of much visual and emotional noise.

Hence spend less time on the computer screen. And when bound to it, keep the essence of your pursuit in mind.

Excepting graphical artists and designers, for most people, the majority of necessary computer operation constitutes text. Well, and charts and spreadsheets. But that too ultimately projects text in the underlying sense.

So aggressively eliminate the noise however possible. Conserve that eyesight, conserve your energy, conserve finances in avoiding hardware upgrades. Free up time.

Perhaps art is better enjoyed where it was intended: at the museum, in small doses.

Alternatively, there’s also ASCII art, although the notion might offend some Renaissance connoisseurs. But no eye strain involved!

Questions, comments? Connect.