Special Projects
Nata Khokhonova

Invisible Gallery
We are accustomed to the fact that sighted people describe to the blind what is happening in the world around us. There is a special area of activity – special translating by which the sighted tell the blind in detail about what is happening on the screen or on the stage. But in addition to the usual method of visual perception the blind have their own special ways of contact with reality. If we turn the usual situation around, whereby the blind will tell the sighted what is depicted in the picture, which at first glance looks a completely black surface, it is possible that it will help sighted people to find and experience other, different from the usual, contact ways with reality.

At a certain light pattern, the canvas appears to be a black plane, but in reality it has a subtle relief, which is tangible and can be seen when lit at a certain angle. At first, the blind act as the guides - the audience can listen to their story of what is depicted in black "invisible" canvas, and of the feelings it aroused in the blind. The first presentation of the black paintings was held in the School named after Martirosyan, where totaly blind and visually impaired children are taught. An audio commentary from pupils of 6A class (13 years old) was recorded during their tactile contacts with the pictures. After listening to this audio, sighted observers were invited to independently "see" the picture via the tactile contact, as if being blind (the size of the paintings was in the range most convenient for tactile "viewing" - not exceeding the size of 80x80 cm). Consequently, the sighted viewers returned to the familiar – seeing pictures in the light visually. Combining all the impressions received, the audience will obviously build a far more multi-faceted model of the reality than the one to which it was accustomed.

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