the tactility of art

WP_20140923_001I had a brief wander into sewing; I converted an image into a grid, then to sewing. Which then prompted me to start thinking about blind art; art made for the act of touching to recognise. Pinterest has a whole area dedicated to this; not ‘proper art’ but objects and images made for people to touch and recognise through shape and texture. Mostly this is for children; to involve them in this world, although what they do when their older I’m not sure. But objects like this; brightly coloured, multi-textured, to play and interact with are used often for therapy and play of children with problems; in a sensory room.

The colour, sound, texture and shape are important; its how we view the world around us and how we react to it. Hence these sensory rooms.

I had a look around online for some art galleries for the blind or otherwise impaired; there’s a few interesting places made specifically for touch. Getty Villa has a series of ‘touch tours’ designed around the fact that”Art museums privilege sight over any other sense. Touch, the sense by which many blind and low vision individuals negotiate the world, is considered taboo and against proper museum etiquette.”

Whereas the Moma art gallery has ‘visual descriptors’ that accompany their touch tours; people who “paint the picture in the mind’s eye,” they talk about paintings and sketches whilst being able to touch some sculptures throughout the entirety of the gallery. Within a report of the touch tours; which are largely damage free and are viewed as being comparable to a sighted person visiting the gallery, Daphnée Denis, the writer of the report, says that “The misconception lies in the idea that touch is devoid of its own aesthetic value—that “it is too close to the body…too little connected to higher cognitive functions,” as Rachel Zuckert, a philosophy professor at Northwestern University, puts it.” However Denis contemplates that with the extra, more intimatea ction of touching it is the seeing that are missing out.”It’s hard to deny the appeal of tactile tours. “Most people would agree that it’s what everybody wants to do, but no one can,” says Francesca Rosenberg, MoMA’s Director of Community, Access and School Programs”, which, it seems, why the tours are becoming more popular.

This is a blog I found about a Tactile museum in Athens made for the blind; they make up replica statues, frescoes, figurines to display from the entirety of Greece’s artwork, all made to be felt. They also teach braille, and help schoolchildren to understand what it means to be blind.

Whereas this file contains an in detail theory on the sense of touch, the disability discrimination act and on the reality of sculpture and its inner workings.


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