September 17: opening SHAPEREADER by Ilan Manouach (DAI, 2017) ~ exhibition and community workshop at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León

| tag: Lèon


September 17th - November 27th 2016

Community workshop:

Dates: September 14-16

Venue: Laboratorio 987

Time: to be determined

Activity free of charge, prior registration, aimed at the visually impaired (partial or complete)


A certain awareness regarding artwork accessibility for blind or visually impaired people has been witnessed the last years. For the people of this informal community, touch is the primary way to acquire information, access a work of art and complete their mental image of an object. Museums, galleries and public art spaces are progressively organizing alternative visits, based on the tactile experience, such as touch tours and handling sessions using specially designed replicas, facsimiles, tactile diagrams and relief structures. The redefinition of their approach stems partly from a general avowal: art apprehension is pre-dominantly visual. Although touch is unanimously considered a mother-sense it has long been detached from the art experience. Regaining contact with our tactile self seems a necessity and in some instances, museums and curators advocate for a non-segregational frame for these alternative visits. Everyone, not only people with visual disabilities, seems to enjoy experiencing textures, weight, and the feel of objects in art or historical depictions. These visits should be open to the general public.

Furthermore, art practitioners readapt themselves to this new situation and a growing number of visual artists reorient their practices challenging our sense of touch. The use of soft materials in contemporary sculpture, like fur, felt, foam, fibers and fabric is an evidence of the decision to rehabilitate our haptic sensibility in the art field. For artists following more militant pursuits, touch can be a kind of political arena. By the use of tactility in their work, these artists deal directly with accessibility issues by means of tactile canvases, Braille alphabet usage or simply by organizing their production in regard to specific communities with visual disabilities.

Shapereader Community Workshop:

The Shapereader Workshop is a unique occasion for visually impaired artists and non blind participants to meet and create side by side, a tactile narrative artwork. The workshop culminates in a lan-guage-based wall installation. The workshop is held for five, three-hour sessions in a small, intimate and comfortable setting. The group, suggested to deal with issues meaningful to the commu-nity, is encouraged during the first day, to contribute story parts and collectively weave them into a simple storyline. The story will be then sequentially broken down into a mental storyboard. The partici-pants will be then given a small set of the Shapereader repertoire consisting of hand-sized wooden tablets carrying different geometric engravings. During the course of the workshop, we will learn how to circumvent visual stimuli, activate our tactile sense as a cognitive tool by identifying the different shapes. The tactigrams (tactile picto-grams) will then be attributed to specific functions and will provide homologies for our story’s characters, actions, affections, settings, etc. By the end of the workshop, the tablets will be placed on a metal board, forming a wall narrative installation. The group will be free to decide whether they want to share the index with the public or not.
The goal is not simply to reflect the community’s expression by a collectively built story, following well known paradigms such as Barthes’ Death of the Author, crowd-based storytelling or the funda-mental ambiguity of the producer/consumer relationship in internet. Shapereader Community Workshop provides the very same genetic material for a storytelling craſt, a repertoire of empty symbols that will be reiteratively attributed other meanings and functions accord-ing to each community’s specific needs, preoccupations and issues.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León

Avenida Reyes Leoneses, 24,
24008 León, Spain