There are so many different things I could explore, but the main areas my ideas were floating around are:
– Senses / Perception
– Language / Descriptions
– Tangible / Intangible Concepts
There was one video from Tommy Edison on youtube, where he talked about intangible concepts – and that really struck me because I never thought about that before. Obviously so many things we describe in certain ways make no sense what so ever to a blind person. Colours for example, or height..
The main differences between a blind person and a sighted person is the fact that they perceive the world differently. That might seem very obvious but when you think about it, “different” can mean so many things – what exactly are these differences and what effect do they have?
I somehow thought that if certain things don’t form part of your perception of the world, then they are also exempt from the way you describe the world. Which leads to the next point – language.
Do blind people use different language to describe things?
Let’s think about a tree:
What would be the first thing you would say about the tree? I’d see it’s green. What would a blind person say if I’d ask them about a tree? They might describe straight away the sound of the leaves in the wind, or the smell of the wood..
Nowadays we are so over stimulated by images, our eyes constantly stare on screens and the majority of our day we spend with eyes open. All the information we perceive has to be filtered and I’d say vision is definitely the most used (and useful) sense out of all of them. That is also why we would probably first describe things according to the way they look.
Blind people on the other hand have developed their other senses to a much greater extend hence why they can perceive things that we can’t (or are too distracted to be able to).
So how could this be transformed visually? (Yes I could make a video and add the sound of the leaves shaking in the wind but I’d like to convey it a bit more creative than that)
I thought about close up images, macro photography, as it creates this very intimate connection to the “object” and shows great detail – things we might miss on the first glance. It is more abstract and one can’t really straight away tell what it is – it is more about the structure than the total. This would draw upon the other senses – touch, smell and hearing and would represent the things a blind person would focus on and upon which the person makes sense of its surrounding.
From there I thought maybe I could go even one step further and create microscopic images, because they relieve a reality that we can’t see by just using our eyes, yet it is there. Nor can the blind person obviously, but it could be used more in a symbolic way for something that is unreachable for both and stands on a different scale in the scope of perception. It would symbolise the idea that just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it is not there which again draws on the perception blind people might have of the world – all the subtle things that are happening around us, for example in sound, that we as sighted people don’t perceive.
It would be interesting to draw a comparison and record the different ways of describing things, which I would gather through interviews, to then use the information and create diptych photographs of the object described but photographed through two different lenses showing the plural “reality” and the differences in perception.