When Eyes Move in Retrograde

Retrograde. That's not a city in Russia. It means to move backwards. Usually in reference to the path of a planet (orbit) in the night sky when viewed from Earth. The backwards movement doesn't really occur, it just looks that way when viewed from Earth.

Retrograde is an illusion. The retrograde movement of Mars for instance, occurs because Mars is orbitting the Sun and not the Earth. The path of Mars starts to slow down and move backwards because of the relative movement of the observer on Earth. Neither planet orbits the other, but rather they both orbit a third object, the Sun.

Retrograde then, occurs because the relationship between the two planets is confused by the observer. The astronomers on Earth used to think Mars orbitted the Earth and therefore expected it to follow a path that moved it smoothly around the Earth across the night sky. The predictable but unexplainable retrograde movement that occured was easily solved when the Sun was shown to be the object that both planets revolved around.

And so it is with the eyes. They're the Earth and the image is Mars. Confused with what they're looking at, the eyes declare the image to be moving backwards. Confusion and abstraction become clarity and reality as the eyes cleverly explain what they can't understand.

That's the wonder of "abstract" art. The artist is in the eyes.

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