[Art_beyond_sight_educators] Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind, Tai Chi

fnugg at online.no fnugg at online.no
Mon Jan 27 09:30:19 UTC 2014

Insights from a Blind Architect
This week's digest of TED Talks caught my eye. The description of the 
first video was intriguing: a formerly sighted architect who quickly 
became blind 
and his subsequent experiences navigating cities such as San Francisco 
and Oakland.

This is the tale of architect Chris Downey, <http://www.arch4blind.com/> 
who advocates designing cities "with the blind in mind", not only 
because that's good to do, but because the resulting product benefits 
the sighted as well.

Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind
Chris Downey website

On Bill Fontana's "Sonic Shadows"

Stepping through the lobby and into the atrium of SFMOMA, you may be 
greeted by strange sounds of dripping water, metallic pings, or 
intermittent clicks. Just as you think you might recognize the sound, it 
vanishes. Sometimes it seems to travel right past you, while other 
sounds seem to swerve somewhere near you. It's hard to tell, though, as 
there's no evidence of anything around that could be making the noise 
--- or so I'm told. I cannot see and came to visit the museum with a 
number of friends, most of them also blind or visually impaired. We came 
to experience /Sonic Shadows/ 
<http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/exhibitions/416>, the temporary 
site-specific sound installation by San Francisco's own Bill Fontana 
<http://www.resoundings.org/>. We didn't know it at the time, but it was 
Bill's work that greeted us as we stepped toward the atrium.
Acoustic wayfinding

Blind veteran becomes renowned sculptor
  KRQE ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - One New Mexico war vet lost his sight and 
one of his hands in Vietnam, but never lost his dream of being an 
artist.Michael Naranjo went from soldier to sculptor - and has made 
quite a name for himself.Everything he does as an artist relies on his 
memory and touch. He creates his art with three fingers on his left 
hand.The New Mexico native - raised in the Santa Clara Pueblo - grew up 
wanting to be an artist.His storied career began when he was blinded by 
a grenade attack in Vietnam."This hand grenade rolled right at my hand. 
I turned to look at it to push it away but I nev...

Royal Blind School sounds recorded ahead of move

*unique sounds from inside the historic Royal Blind School will last 
forever after being recorded as part of a new art project.*

Footsteps, voices and noises heard throughout the Craigmillar Park 
campus have been put on CD by students ahead of the building's closure 
next summer.

The iconic campus where visually impaired children have been taught for 
almost 180 years is being sold -- with pupils and teachers moving to the 
school's Canaan Lane centre in Morningside.

Now, four third-year students from Edinburgh College of Art have created 
a lasting memory of the old school.

Blind faith
Legally blind art teacher overcomes the odds

John Sandy walks between the tables of his classroom, talking to the 
children about technique and the art of blending colors. As he moves 
between the stations he speaks gently to the children and helps guide 
them through the process. He pauses at one table and picks up a 
student's work, holding it only inches from his face as he examines it 
closely. Sandy is legally blind.

Sandy, 59, is a Kanawha County elementary art teacher,


*The inner eye*
Wan Zhouying, a famous Tai Chi master, started to teach blind people 
shadowboxing in 2009. As a 12th-generation practitioner of Chen Style 
Tai Chi Chuan, Wan began learning Tai Chi in his childhood.

Inspired by a friend, Wan established a training center to teach 
visually impaired people to practice Tai Chi in the hope of easing their 

The difficulties for blind students in learning Tai Chi were unexpected. 
To teach every move, Wan has to strike a firm position for the students 
to touch him and feel the positions of his body, including the shoulder, 
the wrist and the ankle. It is followed by another round of training 
where Wan corrects their movements one by one.

Despite these difficulties, Wan believes that blind people are naturally 
suited to learn Tai Chi and they better comprehend the subtlety of this 
physical art that demands internal exploration from the practitioner.


George Mendoza: Colors of the Wind
Textile designs and paintings by author, athlete and artist George Mendoza


Legacy funds craft centre for blind veterans

The first year's proceeds of a £1m legacy left to Lloyd's Patriotic Fund 
by late Lloyd's legend Charles Skey, has funded a new art and craft 
centre for Blind Veterans UK. 

Award Winning Visually Impaired Artist

Self proclaims "Inspirational Blind Artist", Michael A. Williams (born 
March 1964) is the son of artist Mattie L. Williams and the oldest of 10 
children. Mr. Williams as a teenager he was diagnosed with Stargardt's 
disease (also known as fundus flavimaculatus) is a type of macular 
degeneration that typically surfaces before the age of 20. Has been 
sight impaired since birth and started drawing and painting at the age 
of 10.


Michael Williams Award Winning Visually Impaired Artist

Presidential Proclamation -- Blind Americans Equality Day, 2013


Blind and visually impaired persons have always played an important role 
in American life and culture, and today we recommit to our goals of full 
access and opportunity. Whether sprinting across finish lines, leading 
innovation in business and government, or creating powerful music and 
art, blind and visually impaired Americans imagine and pursue ideas and 
goals that move our country forward. As a Nation, it is our task to 
ensure they can always access the tools and support they need to turn 
those ideas and goals into realities.


Interactivity hits the arts festival circuit

Perth Festival directorJonathan Holloway kept hearing about a theatre 
piece out of Israel starring 12 people who are either deaf or blind or 
both, many profoundly. He missed it when it was on in London and again 
in New York, so eventually went to Israel to see it in Jaffa, home to 
the Nalaga'at Deaf-Blind Theatre.

The performers start off kneading bread dough, which they then put into 
ovens on stage. As the bread bakes, the actors tell their stories: about 
boyfriends, girlfriends, disappointments, successes. Life.



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