IF WITH YOUR HANDS YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND, WITH YOUR EYES YOU MUST SENSE, IN ANY CASE THE TRACE MUST REMAIN

This artwork gives importance to the common codes or systems that allow us to communicate and understand each other. With a strong communicative character, it shows the inability to comprehend when one does not know the code that is being used to express an idea. Since it is made in Braille, not everyone can understand the work in its entirety, since there is a certain part of meaning that cannot be accessed to.

 

However, sighted people who cannot understand the meaning of what is written in a code that is foreign to them can be stimulated by the great retinal impact of the work in its visual aspect. In this way, it could be said that a certain interchange of roles is established between those who have the capacity to see and those who have the capacity to understand. The sighted viewers receive the visual stimulus, but cannot access the conceptual meaning of the explanation. Thus, they can sense the emotional character of the dialogue between the two parts of this diptych, contrasting on the one hand the use of black and the tight, breathless, hurried writing, and on the other, the white, diaphanous panel with spaced, rhythmic writing. The blind spectators do not have access to this visual aspect, but they do have access to the meaning of the discourse.

 

On another level of meaning, the work invites strongly to touch it. Regardless of the visual faculties of the audience, all viewers are invited to have a tactile experience with the artwork. Thus, the piece becomes a witness of those who are in its presence, capturing the passing by of people, accumulating the trace of the touch of their hands. The role of the work is active, as it is directly modified by the public as time passes, transforming and reflecting those who visit it.

 

A study of how blindness is treated in literature, has been carried out for the realization of this work. This theme was approached mainly from two different perspectives, tackling two authors with their own views on blindness. On the one hand, the first work - black, dark and confusing - deals with the impossibility of seeing from Saramago’s fiction book “Essay on Blindness”. This piece has a tense atmosphere, where the color and the tight characters confer a sensation of suffocation and uneasiness. The selected quotations from Saramago’s work produce a disturbing feeling that resonates closely with the present day, since, until one reads the end of the text, one might easily think that it is an excerpt from today’s pandemic news. On the other hand, the second work - white, clear and hopeful - captures the vision of Jorge Luis Borges, a writer who went blind at the age of fifty-five. Its starting point is a true fact, which is not considered as a condemnation, but rather as a possibility to see the world in a different way. His extracts of poems have an idyllic and romantic atmosphere, with spaces between the elements, which provide a light and ethereal character.

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