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Super Vision


((PKG)) SUPER VISION
((Banner: Seeing More))
((Reporter/Camera:
Genia Dulot))

((Map: San Diego, California))
((Banner:
Artist Concetta Antico has a rare vision condition called tetrachromacy.))
((NATS))

((CONCETTA ANTICO, ARTIST))
I love color, like, I wake up and I breathe and I eat color, you know. Everything color speaks to me. You know, like, I’m here and I’m looking in my garden and I’m seeing thousands of colors and it’s bright. Some lady came to my studio where I teach and where my gallery was, and she said, “Wow, your painting’s a very unusual color. They’re very wild, fantastic, you know. They have, like, an alchemy that I can’t quite put my finger on it.” And she was a doctor, research scientist. And I said, I laughed, and I said, well, everybody says that. And I said, maybe it’s my fourth receptor. She sent over some bibliography about tetrachromacy, about fourth receptors. I’m like, maybe I am, you know, I’m like the fourth receptor, super vision woman. That’s what they call it. Super Vision.
((NATS))
((KIMBERLY A. JAMESON, SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE))

Potential tetrachromacy is a condition that is made possible by possessing extra variance of genes that create the chrome classes that normal people have. What might happen with a tetrachromat? I show you three colors. Let’s say I show you three oranges. They look the same but they have different underlying physical measurements. So, they can vary in their physical property but to you, the human trichromat, they look identical. She, on the other hand, may say, “Oh no, this one is salmon and this one is apricot and this one is orange.”
((NATS))
((CONCETTA ANTICO, ARTIST))

My sister and I, one day we were walking by the river where she lives in Australia and there were some gum trees and we were laughing because we both can see the aqua and the lilac on the bark of the tree and we know that other people can’t see that. They are just seeing brown and something.
((NATS))
((KIMBERLY A. JAMESON, SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE))

The mothers of sons, who are color blind, are known to be carriers of potential tetrachromacy. And when we know that males are two percent we can extrapolate, we can calculate it and say, about 15 percent of women in the Caucasian population are going to be candidates for potential tetrachromacy. If you’re going to be someone who has the potential to be a tetrachromat, you have to first have this gene. Having the gene is not sufficient to be one, but it’s a necessary condition. So, in Concetta’s case, when you ask me why she’s special, one thing we believe is that because she’s been painting, sort of continuously since the age of seven years old, she has really enlisted this extra potential and used it. This is how genetics works. It gives you the potential to do things and if the environment demands that you do that thing, then the genes kick in. It could have been a selective pressure to find riper fruit because of the fact that riper fruit has more sugar content and that presents an evolutionary advantage. There’s also a theory by a guy named Shimojo that says, “Oh no, it’s because the early hominids and the apes needed to socially understand when their cohorts were angry.” When the skin got flushed, they were like, “Oh, it’s to my advantage to back off.”
((NATS))
((CONCETTA ANTICO, ARTIST))

Looking at skin of people, looking at skin of myself, looking at aged people, looking at people who are unwell, I can tell when the color of their skin changes and I can tell when they’re unwell or perhaps dying. But I can also tell when my children are not well or they have fever because I can tell the color changes. If people with regular vision, you know, just regular three receptors, they have the potential to see up to a million colors, but most people aren’t looking. Like, even the people I’ve taught how to paint, after six months, one year, they’re like, “Oh, I look at the sky and I see more things.” So, even regular vision people have the potential to see much more.

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