Create an elaborate light-proof set. Populate it with sighted people and get them to perform tasks in that darkness. Every now and then shoot with the flash, the light willgive them glimpses of what they are doing and allow them to organize but also capture each subjects relief for a brief glimpse of the sighted world.
A variation or an adjunct to tis concept is to set up portrait lighting on a given subject. Turn out all light and allow the subject and photographer to acclimatize to complete darkness and then shoot a photograph that focuses on their dilated pupils. In a way this would result in the temporarily blind taking a picture of a temporarily blind subject.
Film the whole thing as well and use the combination of both for the exhibition.
Seeing is the next body of work I’ll start to build seriously. It’s been in the idea stage for over a year and I’ve researched it quite a bit already. The next steps are pretty daunting. I need to finish building my studio in the basement, apply for various grants, learn how to write well, teach myself how to hand Braille, and devise a way of making large format Braille works.
Seeing is about understanding. Specifically it’s about understanding that visual art –by it’s very nature and the nature of current museum structure– is exclusionary. In the most obvious way visual art is about seeing and it is definitely inaccessible to the visually impaired or blind. Sculpture is the possible exception, but even with sculpture patrons in galleries are not allowed to touch works so even it is inaccessible.
The ideas for Seeing originally struck me as a way to use photography to create text based art. I’ve always liked text stuff. The original idea was simple, I would describe photographs in text and print those descriptions instead of the photographs. I would change how the image is imagined by not letting it be seen at all. In a way this is a show about photography without showing photography. There does however seem to be a lot of text based work around in the contemporary art world. It’s become rather common place. Because of that I began to think of ways to create pieces that might still be language based but not so stereotypically word art. If, for instance I was to print the text in very light grey on a white page it would make it less legible and less immediately obvious that it was text. This also served the purpose the obscuring the text, and in a way removing the photograph more, while still demanding the viewers attention.
At this point I started to think about Braille and then I kept thinking about Braille and started researching it. I’m now planning to convert my photographs to descriptions for the visually impaired or completely sightless, then translate that further into Braille by use of a software program called Druxbury, then write the Braille on oversized art paper and those panels of white Braille dots will become the actual art work. I’ll do a series of maybe a dozen pieces all in the same dimensions as the photographs they describe.
I had a fixation for months to get aluminum or fiberglass panels created via a CNC Router and a process they call raster Braille, but the costs were astronomical. There was aslo something too cold about manufactured panles. I far prefer the idea of doing the Braille work by hand now
The people at the CNIB have been very helpful and supplied me with this amazing document circa 1980 I’ve included a page of that document here. I love this document, it’s typed!