The In/Visible

Sight – How much do we rely on our eyes?

Explorations into the role of vision and its potential hierarchy over our other senses, including the possibility of Braille being a three- dimensional representation of the spoken and written voice.

If we walk into a room we have been present in before, we recognise, we store, we categorise and we re/connect.
If we walk into a room we have been living in, we recognise, we store, we categorise and we re/connect.
If we walk into a room we have never been in before, we recognise, we store, we categorise and we re/connect.

I enter the room through a wooden door, after climbing a flight of stairs and see the space in front of me – grey, like a rainy day in November; the interior of the space is dark grey – just grey. After a few seconds, I can see shadows developing; I begin to find myself again. I confirm my place through my vision. Ah, yes, I can “see” where I am now, I can distinguish between objects, I can see the space between the objects – a grey galaxy filled with grey artefacts and shadows. I step further into the room and stop again to settle my experience. I have now fully arrived in “the Shadows”. Without them, the sea of grey’ness would just flood me, swallow me whole, but the grounding shadows hold each artefact, each being in its place and help me, the reader and explorer, to engage. I look down and see my own shadow on the floor. Without it, I would be absorbed – I would not be “seen” as individual being, but part of the greater grey background of existence. After co-ordinating my thoughts with my visual input, I proceed further into the room and stop at the dinner table near the windows. Almost peaceful, the table is set and is waiting for interaction. Every single object on the table top is the same grey as rest of the interior, every single surface is grey. I pick up a grey apple from the bowl. Can I be sure it is apple?
I recognise the “image” of an apple – it is round’ish, bears the signs of growing on tree, out of a flower, the weight feel about right for an apple, I would say it is an apple. Except for the fact that it is grey, and not the otherwise welcomed green’, red’ or yellow’ish appearance of an apple – even though, with the missing visual colour information, I can still assume it is an apple. I have learned that apples look like this years ago, I know how they taste, how they fell in my hand, how they grow, how they look on the insight, what happens to them if you heat them up, cook or bake them, mix them with other ingredients, I am aware of historical, religious and everyday connections– I have a working knowledge of an apple. I can draw an apple from observation as much as I could draw one form memory. However, this understanding is largely based on visual engagement – I see it, I touch it. How would the world have been, if I had explored with without vision, if I had learned to read through touch first, if I had developed a tactile exploration over my visual engagement with the world?

If I walk into a room I have been present in before, I recognise, I store, I categorise and I re/connect.
If I walk into a room I have been living in, I recognise, I store, I categorise and I re/connect.
If I walk into a room I have never been in before, I recognise, I store, I categorise and I re/connect.

I close my eyes and just feel the fruit in my hand. Still feels the same “apple’ish’ness” to me. The surface feels warm and I begin to engage with the object to a different level – I become aware of the small raised dots on the surface. I haven’t paid much attention to them before, possible due to the way I recognised categories, stored and re/connected the visual information, but now, I am aware. With both hands, I begin to “read” the object and realise that the little dots actually spell out “apple” in Braille, something that had almost gone unnoticed to me before – information in/visible.

I am a visual person, I cannot deny that. I like pictures. I like my world full of colours and moving images, I am intrigued by cameras and how they record the world, I like being able to “see” – to explore the world through my eyes. It is impossible for me to understand how the world is without vision having such a high priority in my life, I can only assume, but never fully understand – until I stop relying on my vision. However, I do believe that through all the visual noise surrounding us, it is important to close one’s eyes from time to time. The noise that surrounds us is not only acoustic or visual noise, our world is flooded with objects and their stories, our interactions and rewritten stories, our surrounding environment is over saturated with being. And even without vision, we can gain an insight into this. Should one consider Braille to be the three-dimensional representation of the written and spoken voices surrounding us?
I have recently used my Valentine typewriter to record some hi/stories. The surface of the paper becomes three-dimensional once the keys hit it. I am physically engaging with the information to be recorded, the keys become extensions of my own being, my arms, my fingers. My laptop represents a diluted version of this engagement – I am less aware of the happenings of writing, I am less involved in the making.
A result of the fast-paced life and environment in today’s world, one wonders?
I can almost make out the mark the typewriter created on the surface; I am almost able to “read” the information – almost. I recognise the letter on the paper as I have learned how they look like. Back in primary school, I have drawn each letter of the alphabet in wax crayon large scale on wallpaper rolled out on the floor, every time I trace over the round curves of the “s” or the straight and lines and harsh corners of the “k”, the letter became more and more solid, more and more recognisable, more and more me.

Should one consider Braille to be the three-dimensional representation of the written and spoken voices surrounding us?

Small round dots, universally recognisable, perfect to tell the stories of everyday happenings. Just round dots, raised from the surface they sit on, be it paper, metal, concrete or wood. Small round dots. Once learned, they offer a great vastness of informational input – they tell the world’s tales in three- dimensions, with or without a reliance on sight and visual participation.
Eternally round –  do they have a beginning? A middle? An ending?  Are they just part of a phase or phases we go through? Is it a question of beginning – middle – beginning?

They are .
Design is.  
I am.

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