What a difficult concept to approach! Everyone has tried to walk blindfolded or with ones’ eyes closed to see what actually being blind might be like, yet the catch is that we are still viewing/seeing, it is just black due to the absence of light. So I was curious when I first found “Notes on Blindness” when this course began. After watching it though, I still believe any attempt at making this concept relatable is far from hitting the mark.
However, I don’t believe Arnaud nor La Berthe believe this work gives an entirely honest representation of being blind either, it is simply a sketch with the best tools we have, and it is quite clever in its aesthetic design. The choice to use digital reproductions instead of actual footage was a smart one I believe. If one were blind and hearing surrounding events, one’s imagination would be the creator of imagery.
I don’t look at this as “Notes of Blindness” but rather “Notes on Hearing”, and the role our ears have in spatial orientation.
John Hull points out that it is a very active world when a setting in experienced through sound – the creating of an “acoustic space”. Place and environment can only be created from sound, and sound truly only comes from movement, so the very nature of the space is either a blank void or a relational happening. Though this fact is visualized in the headset, and thus still a definite separation from actually being blind, it was this concept that allowed me to better “empathize” for a visually impaired person. We have discussed empathy daily in our course, and it was poignant for me that it was the articulation of this concept that created the empathy in my, not a visual cue.
Once again, I don’t feel this work highlights the role of vision but rather, if one wishes to create a 360 environment, 360 sound has a fundamental role in that world and should be an editing tool well wielded.