Reality through closed eyes.

One of the most evident features when it comes to screens is of course the visual dimension. Whether we are referring to the use of personal computers or smartphones, what we see with our eyes is a fundamental part of the user’s experience.
Starting from the particular position adopted by today’s guest lecturer (Paula Bialski), we will share some personal thoughts on the subject – momentarily turning off the usual neutral approach, to allow everyone to listen more and to listen better.


One of the first rules to be pinned on our common, imaginary whiteboard, at the beginning of this experience, was (and we quote:) “Please turn your camera on at all times: It is a matter of respect and we will not have to speak to a digital void” – so imagine our surprise when, this morning, we were encouraged to turn off it off, in order to get really comfortable and just listen.
The main point of Paula Bialski argument about her lecture style was the need to take a break from the visual dimension of the screen. She highlighted the fact that, especially in these days, with the non-stop need of being online and being productive in front of a screen, people had to reorganize the way they use their eyes – and this could lead them to the sensation of being visually overwhelmed. We are talking about getting tired, feeling the eyes burning, perceiving the need to just listen.
And this is exactly what she asked for: just being listened to.

“There’s no need to stare at my face. There’s much more reason to imagine a lot of the stories that I’m going to bring you from the field.”

In this way, the screens of our laptops were just another piece of furniture in our desks, there just to bring us the voice of Paula.



Even If we do not agree on the load of energy requested by working and meeting exclusively through the mediating feature of a screen, we do agree on one thing: the visual dimension is fundamental. The lecture of this morning was for sure an interesting twist, a different angle to approach this experience, and a way to enlarge our personal list of learning modes – but when it comes to true engagement we believe that being able to see what is happening is relevant.
We reached this conclusion especially as a consequence of some issues that we are (currently) accounting during meetings for group talks. Due to internet connection problems, we often need to turn off our cameras when we are involved in our brainstorming session – which made us realize that being able to see the other people is very important. Since we can’t meet in person, to have the opportunity of observing at least facial expressions and real-time (involuntary) reaction is a way to get to know each other a little better. Most of our best ideas were conceived when we were actually able to grasp each other’s moods and to build up a common atmosphere, as If we were together in one big room.


Anna, Dragana, Maylis & Sofia.