Visual noise can include virtually anything. Our homes, streets and other public spaces are crowded with visual information. Advertisements, notes and papers, the TV or computer screens, even the books and newspapers we read — they all carry visual signs that we have learned to overlook and ignore. Noticing something has become an exception rather than a rule. Living in the city, surrounded by countless people and advertisements, I suspect that have grown more numb towards sensory information than I can even realise. How often do I really look at the houses or the people that I am passing on the streets every day? It is a shocking difference to assume the same state of awareness as when I first travelled to this place. The experience is similar to waking up. And, as the attention fades, we fall asleep again.
It is true that awareness makes a richer experience, but even then, I do not need to notice everything. There needs to be a choice and possibility to choose nothing. I need room to reflect, to create, to experience something from myself. There is a need for a place of absence. If I remove all visual noise from my surroundings, I am faced with the space itself. It can be a clean white paper, a perfectly painted ceiling, or a plateau — miles and miles of empty space without a single vertical line. As opposed to visual noise, there can be visual silence.
Silence is attractive. In the absence of noise the mind can focus and notice again.
However, the absence we know is never absolute — not even in our mind. If I see nothing and I wait, my mind begins to wander: my imagination fills up the space from my thoughts and memories. In the absence of stimuli, the mind becomes idle and begins a search for new experiences. The mind wants to discover. Emptiness is a space for possibility.