Today was my last day in New York after precious little time at home, and I decided to take advantage of the glorious (spring!) weather by taking a stroll through my neighborhood and spending a few hours at the Met. I wasn’t sure what new exhibits there were, but as I wandered I came upon a photography exhibit that created a conversation among Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand. The above photo (a Strand piece) reminded me that I had yet to post anything about the In/Visible outcomes.
The colloquium went beautifully (if you’ll excuse the term) and we all really latched onto the technique of verbal description: reconstructing an image through words (and with minimal analysis) for visually impaired audience members. Although all speakers appeared to use the same methods of description, a few of us began to speculate about the subjective nature of viewing a painting: would two people necessarily produce similar audio descriptions of an image? Certainly one person’s clear description can be another person’s winding labyrinth, as was proved with the tour we designed (a few independent tour-takers apparently got a bit turned around). I should also note that not many people showed up for the actual event, but the event and the tour itself should not be conflated. All the downloadable materials are still available on the Listening Project website and we heartily encourage anyone to take the tour at any time… it might be especially interesting to do it with a group of friends, peers, or freshmen.
As we move into the last quarter of the year (and my last quarter at Haverford!) we will continue to explore ideas of audio description, how speaking and listening can affect what we see (and/or how we see it). We’ll also be working to digitize all the material we have and to create a few aural surprises before the semester is through.