During a two-day kick-off meeting, all the participants of the four countries got together for the first time. Experts from various disciplines – seeing or not seeing – introduced the participants to the overall project in talks and lectures.
The rooms of the Goethe-Institut of Paris are packed: 40 participants, four different countries and an impressive variety of backgrounds – artists, visually impaired influencers, fashion and design students and teachers – have gathered in the modern, light-flooded building for the kick-off meeting of BEYOND SEEING.
The event’s program includes a lecture by popular visually impaired fashion designer Bianca von Stempel. She talks about her personal experiences, challenges and opportunities as a visually impaired designer. By presenting parts of her collection, von Stempel demonstrates the range and the depth of an approach to fashion beyond sight.
Breaking the participants inner, often socially constructed boundaries and pushing them out of their comfort zones is French artist collective LaHorde’s declared intention. Why? To transgress into new spheres of creativity. How? Through methods connected to blindfolded interaction.
Without Sight, an extraordinary film by Belgian filmmaker Marie Mandy catered explicitly towards people with visual impairment through a focus on audio material. By showing it to a fully non-sighted audience, Mandy creates a space for multisensory experience.
The vast amount of input, blindfolded interaction and out-of-the-box experiences led to three core questions, along which existing creation mechanism and thought patterns shall be broken up to enter new dimensions of future oriented design processes.
1 | Does a world without images exist?
If yes, what does it look like? How can this emotion of “vision” be translated into strategies and objects?
2 | Who am I when I don’t see myself?
How does my identity change when I’m blindfolded? Do I become more insecure or do I feel unexpected bravery?
3 | Can we create without seeing?
How can the knowledge and experience that Bianca von Stempel shared with the participants be used to create beyond and maybe even entirely without seeing?