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"Placing" Your Body- Reflections on our Blind Tour

sara.gladwin's picture

Negative spaces have always been interesting for me, not only in an artistic sense but in as an everyday occurrence- I think they speak volumes, especially about people. I’ve always liked seeing and observing what spaces exist between people. However, I had never thought about “hearing” or “feeling” negative spaces. I’ve been thinking a lot about blindness and the way in which not seeing necessitates you to “place” your body- it becomes all the more important to understand where you are, what is around you and where you are going. The environment you are in no longer becomes the background but a very important foreground. The only reason I knew where I was a given time was based on sounds and light variations. I knew we were near the road when I could hear cars, and I knew from the sound of the wind in the trees in my right ear that senior row was to the left of us. I knew we were in the woods and under senior row when the ever-present dot of light representing the sun flickered from interfering leaves and trees. When we were told to beware of an intrusive object possibly in our path, I instinctively and reflexively would put out my hand, in hopes that I could “feel” my place and know where not to walk. Finding these negative spaces through feeling and hearing instead of vision becomes necessary to find the safe spaces, in order to place your body within a context or environment.