For visually handicapped people there are numerous tools to get along with everyday life: clicking traffic lights, tactile guiding lines at the bottom of stations, information on medical packing that could be ‘read’ with the fingertips and so on. However, our everyday world is characterized by quite different visual culture phenomena that usually remain hidden for blind people such as architecturally designed building facades, colourful billboards and graffiti.
Here graffiti is made tangible for the blind. This does not have to be successful, well-known works like those of the British artist Banksy. Even the supposedly trivial scribbling on the toilet wall, the sprayed tag at the corner of the house or the half-finished ‘throw-up’ at the railway bridge is of particular importance. And inclusion also means not to hide away anything to anyone.
Such graffiti are translated into Braille – in original size!
However, graffiti does not only mean (often) illegible signature. It also means shapes, colours, moods – a synaesthetic firework! One time it sounds like trumpets and smells of raspberries, the other time it whistles as tinnitus and stinks of shit.
Such aspects of perception could not be translated like written letters. That’s why music comes into play…
What could be seen on a tagged dustbin are no readable fonts. There, several layers of paint superimpose and flake off again, stickers are dissolving. I translate that into sound… and out of the barrel blasts a wild tone painting.
(Sepalot, sound artist)
Wow! It’s amazing when you could feel and hear your Graffiti for the first time…
What is bitter? Now I have been here three times to set a Braille style. The first time it rained, the second time I had packed to small hemispheres – that looked stupid (I got there in the night by bicycle and had almost frozen off the big toe; that has been three days ago and it is still numb). But today everything worked. For sure! Back home I look at the photos… Fuck! I’ve prescribed.
(Alexis Dworsky, conceptual artist)
That’s a great idea! But how could I as a blind guy get there…
Alexis Dworsky, born in 1976, is a conceptual artist. From a roasted hare he had (re)constructed a dinosaur and wrote a doctoral thesis about that; he rides around the world in Google Street View and gives travel lectures thereof. www.alexisdworsky.de
Sebastian “Sepalot” Weiss-Laughton, born in 1974, is a musician, music producer and DJ. He was a member of the legendary Munich hip-hop group Blumentopf; he publishes solo albums and collaborates with international musicians. www.sepalot.com
Graffiti (for the intervention at Kreativquartier, Munich)
Loomit, born in 1968, is a graffiti artist. He has sprayed the highest graffiti in the world and is therefore mentioned in Guinness Book; he has painted the private bathroom of the mayor of Munich and in the Bronx he was taught how to tattoo from the graffiti pioneer Seen. www.loomit.de