Sensory Reset

Sensory Reset

Mark Robert Barry
UH 210 – Studioless Art & Creative Process
ART 110 – Drawing I
The University of Alabama


This assignment asks students to do more than merely look at their surroundings. Looking and seeing are not the same thing. By resetting the senses, students are able to cleanse their visual palette. Colors, textures, and light are all enhanced.


  • Become more perceptive.
  • Become more receptive.
  • Increase awareness of aesthetic stimuli.


  • Listen to Radiolab’s “Color” episode. Specifically, the section using the choir to discuss the range of color humans can see versus other animals like the mantis shrimp.
  • Spend 10 minutes in complete darkness while wearing foam earplugs (provided by instructor).
  • Walk around campus wearing earplugs.
  • Students point out objects and spaces to one another that please them aesthetically.


  • Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for walking.
  • Don’t bring anything with you that will be tiring to carry, such as a heavy backpack or a purse.
  • No talking during the walk—not to classmates or friends seen along the way.
  • No cell phones or other electronic devices.
  • Be highly perceptive.
    Try to see as much of the world as you can. Notice more than you have ever noticed before.
  • Don’t worry about what you look like walking and pointing at things while wearing ear plugs.
    Be too busy seeing the world to be self-conscious.


Students are graded with consideration to participation, following instructions, and enthusiasm.


At the conclusion of the walk, students take out their earplugs to discuss the experience. At that moment, they hear with a cleansed audible palette.

This assignment is based on one originally designed by Stephen Watson. Used and altered with permission.