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Making Space for Art: David Johnson

Making Space for Art: David Johnson on Beauty and Blind

  • Date23 Nov 2021
  • Reading time 1min

In this recorded talk for the Making Space for Art series, artist David Johnson speaks on the theme of Beauty and the Blind: There’s Far More to Seeing Than Enters the Eyeball. Introduction by Professor Hannah Thompson, who commissioned David for the arts festival Blind Creations.

In this presentation David Johnson talks about his piece ‘Too Big to Feel’ and more generally about his art. The talk will focus on the irony of how blindness can give us insights into the big questions concerning the nature of things and our knowledge of those things, and how art can be a very powerful and effective tool in communicating these insights. In important ways the blind experience of the world, rather than being alien and alienating, is in fact, parallel and analogous to the sighted experience of the world. As a society we marginalise, trivialise and ignore these insights at our cost.

The piece ‘Too Big to Feel’, located on Royal Holloway’s main campus, is braille that is too big for most blind braille readers to understand and too encrypted for sighted non-braille readers to understand. So the meaning of the braille words is obscure to nearly everyone, suggesting thus that meaning is obscure and that we should be humble when claiming knowledge.

Participants were able to join in the creation of a collaborative art work during the seminar.

Welcome by Dr Giuliana Pieri (Head of School of Humanities, Royal Holloway).

Introduction by Professor Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway).

This talk was delivered on 27 January 2016.

Please click on the video to listen to the talk. 

You can view a transcript here

These talks were recorded for Royal Holloway by Backdoor Broadcasting. (Image used for video by Jonathan Farber.)

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