zeiss ikon eyes

A discussion-thread at williamgibsonboard, broaching the issue of the actual looks of synthetical eyes within Gibson‘s sprawl trilogy inspired the man himself to write a blog-entry on Molly’s mirrorshades and Zeiss-Ikon eyes. The entry is particularly interesting in respect to precision of description and “the hyperspecificity of the cyberpunk style”. Then Gibson finally comes to the “Zeiss-Ikon eyes”:

With the “Zeiss-Ikon eyes”, from “Burning Chrome” [↵Gibson 1987 [1982]], which some readers evidently invision as (gack) German camera lenses, there was a “really”. I assumed they were vat-grown, genetically optically perfect organs, perhaps further tweaked to maximize them as, in effect, video cameras. The name of the company would be subtly worked into the patterning around each iris, and wouldn’t be very obvious at all, or readable, unless you were extremely close to the wearer (recipient? owner?)

I am especially fond of this blog-entry because the issue of the looks of Tally Isham’s eyes is on my mind since quite some time. I even went for lengths and photoshopped a tiny golden vintage Zeiss-Ikon logo upon a screencap from “Blade Runner” showing the famous “Hades eye”, reflecting [pun not intended] the state of mankind’s urban habitats on Earth:
Tally's Hades eye
That’s a very weak job, I know, but back then I couldn’t cook up something better. Trying to visualize my vision got dispensable, when I saw the opening sequence of “Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence” (2004). In my opinion the screencap shows a perfect rendition of how Gibsonian Zeiss-Ikon eyes may look. Watch the movie, or at least its opening sequence on all account. Just to see that fabulous eye in motion, its mechanical rings rotating:
Tally Isham's ghost eye
Here is a sample of quotes from Gibson’s work, wherein the eyes are described:

I went out and looked for Rikki, found her in a cafe with a boy with Sendai eyes, half-healed suture lines radiating from his bruised sockets. She had a glossy brochure spread open on the table, Tally Isham smiling up from a dozen photographs, the Girl with the Zeiss Ikon Eyes. […]

Actually she looked a lot like Tally, same coloring and cheekbones. I thought Rikki’s mouth was stronger. More sass. She didn’t want to be Tally Isham, but she coveted the job. That was her ambition, to be in sim-stim. Bobby just laughed it off. She talked to me about it, though. “I-Iow’d I look with a pair of these?” she’d ask, holding a full-page headshot, Tally Isham’s blue Zeiss Ikons lined up with her own amber-brown. She’d had her corneas done twice, but she still wasn’t 20-20; so she wanted Ikons. Brand of the stars. Very expensive. […]

Blue, Tally Isham blue. The clear trademark blue they’re famous for, ZEISS IKON ringing each iris in tiny capitals, the letters suspended there like flecks of gold. […]
—William Gibson, Burning Chrome (↵Gibson 1987 [1982])

“Look, Turner, here’s your leading lady.” The man smiled up at Jane Hamilton, who smiled back, her wide blue eyes clear and perfect, each iris ringed with the minute gold lettering of the Zeiss Ikon logo. Turner froze, caught in a split-second lock of indecision. The star was close, too close, and the pale man was rising.
    Turner looked at her. She was twenty, four years his junior, and earned roughly nine times his annual salary in a given week. She was blonde, her hair cropped short for the series role, deeply tanned, and looked as if she was illuminated from within by sunlamps. The blue eyes were inhumanly perfect optical instruments, grown in vats in Japan. She was both actress and camera, her eyes worth several million New Yen, and in the hierarchy of Sense/Net stars, she barely rated.
—William Gibson, Count Zero (Gibson 1986)

Apparently in her willowy early thirties, her only obvious augments were a pair of pale blue Zeiss implants. A young French fashion reporter had once referred to these as »modishly outdated«; the reporter, Net legend said, had never worked again.
—William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive (↵Gibson 1988)

To round things up, here is a quite matching quote from “Blade Runner”:

“Don’t know… I… I..don’t know such stuff,” Chew answers, “I just do eyes, jus.. jus.. Jus… just eyes… genetic design, just eyes.” Gazing up at the silent replicant, Chew then says… “You Nexus, huh? I design you’ eyes.”
—Hampton Fancher & David Peoples, Blade Runner [see ↑Blade Runner Scripts]

Ah, by the way, I always envisioned Molly’s eyes to be similar to those the android RanXerox has in the graphic novel series of the same name by Italian artists Stefano Tamburini (script, text) and Tanino Liberatore (drawings):
“RanXerox” itself is choke full of cyberpunk elements and style, consistently its publication in “Heavy Metal” magazine started in 1982. According to the stub at wikipedia graphic-novel god Richard Corben, an all-time hero of mine, said about “RanXerox”:

Ranxerox is a punk, futuristic Frankenstein, and with the under-aged Lubna, they are a bizarre Beauty and the Beast. This artist and writer team have turned a dark mirror to the depths of our Id and we see reflected the base part of ourselves that would take what it wants with no compromise, no apology—and woe to the person who would cross us. But it is all done with a black, wry, satirical sense of humor.

RanXerox out of order

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