There was a big takeaway from one art installation at this year’s Miami art festival: “You don’t need your eyes to see.”
‘UnSeen – Interpretations with the Visually Impaired‘ was an innovative effort to include the blind community in Miami Art Week. Four blind participants from Miami Lighthouse for the Blind were read a description of the artwork of a Mallorca, Spain based artist named Julian Smith.
They were asked to imagine what would that art piece look like. Their words were recorded. Then, the artist created original pieces based on the words of the blind volunteers.
“But UnSeen is not only for the blind, it’s a chance for seeing people to experience how the blind community interprets art and ultimately how they imagine it, ” says Stephen Roesler of Miniac Films, one of the collaborators that made this exhibition possible.
Even if your eyes are perfectly fine, the art cannot be seen with the naked eye. Using an augmented reality application, the artworks revealed themselves through one’s cellphone or tablet.
The art installation also adds one more dimension to the average observer. Through headphones, one can listen to the narrative each visually impaired collaborator heard to understand Julian’s original piece and their personal interpretation of what they imagined it would look like.
This experience allows the viewer to connect further with each art piece and the person who imagined it.
For many of us just staring at the white wall we did not know what to expect. Once I started using the application, hearing the voices of the artist and the participants, while looking at the art through the phone, felt as if another reality had opened to my senses.