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Close Your Eyes. An Invisible Design Language

What does “beautiful“ mean, when you can‘t see? This was the initial question, the answer to which was sought in a theoretical field study.

It soon became clear that acoustics had a strong influence on the judgement of the three visually impaired or blind participants. The sound of things is accompanied by an experience of perception, which the sighted often “overlook” in quite a literal sense. How do people blind from birth imagine movements when they hear sounds? Which world of forms is created by their minds?

Water falls on a hot cooktop; it hisses. This is how people blind from birth describe the movement of water sounds that they cannot see by touch. Their ideas are interpreted in terms of time and form, and a new language of form and experience emerges. The haptic, acoustic, and playful experience of this setting, which consists of five glasses, is based on a new design approach inspired by the perceptions of the blind. This approach sees blindness as an opportunity to integrate the non-visual into design.

Author:
Alena Halmes Institute of Industrial Design, BA thesis, 2019

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