Two-Day Workshop on Disability and Cross-Sensory Translation:
Blind Field Walk and U-M Museum of Art


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  • Speaker: Carmen Papalia, MFA Social Practice, Portland State University
  • Host Department: Institute for the Humanities
  • Date: 10/25/2012
  • Time: 1:00PM - 4:00PM

  • Location: 202 S. Thayer, room 1022, Ann Arbor

  • Description:

    The Blind Field walking tour is a nonvisual service in which Portland-based artist Carmen Papalia transports groups of people to and from given locations: university campuses, art galleries, restaurants and so on, from his vantage point as a person with a visual impairment. Participants will form a line behind Papalia and keep their eyes closed for the duration of the walking tour, an element that requires an exchange of trust. This is not a simulation exercise: there is no sense that participants enter into an experience of blind space. Rather, the trip culminates in a group discussion about the experience. As participants traverse familiar landscapes nonvisually, they become aware of their sensory perceptions and the many ways in which one can experience and explore space.

    In the second half of this event, the workshop team will encourage participants to give non-visual tours of exhibits in UMMA: one person with eyes closed is led by one with eyes open, who describes the art works the couple encounters. What new museum experiences emerge in these forms of engagement with public space, disability’s difference, translation, and the poetics of art?

    Carmen Papalia is an MFA student in Social Practice at Portland State University. He is editor of Memewar magazine. Selections of his work can be found in Sub-terrain, The Capilano Courier, The Liar, and in Memewar. He is currently working on "Pocket Vision," a text that explores his own degenerating vision.