Notes on Visual Snow

I feel connected to the sky, “the color of television, tuned to a dead channel”. The noise of infinite TV-static permeates my visual field.

As a kid, I enjoyed looking out of the car window, into the blue sky, and following floaters. These odd phenomena occurring naturally in the eye were some of the first things that brought attention to myself — my own organs of sensation. They taught me meta-cognition, the subjectivity of perceived reality, and (through their ephemeral displacements) the impermanent nature of the world. Overall I had pleasant associations with them (journeys, the summer), but during my adolescence I discovered a more unsettling condition.

Since visual snow was something I’ve always persistently had, it was difficult to distinctly point at the fact as something “abnormal”. As a natural feature of my visual field, I couldn’t discriminate it as an extra “unnatural” facet, because it felt as “right” as seeing colours, or having an arm. I suppose subconsciously I believed everyone had this, which one could term the fallacy of ‘generalising from one example’, and given its rarity there was little chance it would come up in a conversation. So I felt it was quite appropriate for me to have first read about it on the internet, a vast informational complex network on its own right.

Having discovered it was some sort of rare brain anomaly, all moments in which I’m aware of it would become highly meta-cognitive, and increasingly steering to dissociative depersonalisation and derealisation.

Sometimes it feels like a cage, the film grain that constitutes my life, or a superfluous layer of noise that captures my attention and doesn’t allow it to pass ‘outside’, to see an exterior object ‘in-itself’. The Kantian terminology is not incidental.

Other times, I would entertain myself that I actually see the floating infinitesimal air particles, the atoms that build up the universe. A sense of microscopic scale opens up for me, the daunting realisation of micro-physicality. A “becoming-molecular”? In stronger cannabis-saturated trips the noise exacerbates – apophenic spirals dance in seas of infinite information. On the ooze of darkness – an overwhelming pulsating chaosmos of swarming particles, neural pathways, nano killer-robots, protuberances emerging out from and back into nothingness.

‘the infinite neuroelectronic void of the matrix.’

This is what it feels like having persistent visual snow:


Let the explorations begin…


(image-1 is from Mattis Dovier’s ‘Flight Attendant’, image-2 from ‘Serial Experiments Lain’, and image-3 from Sandy Ding’s ‘Dream Enclosure’)

3 thoughts on “Notes on Visual Snow”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s