Nacht und Nebel is a festival that celebrates Neukölln's art scene. Once a year, over 70 venues present different events: exhibitions, concerts, theatre, readings, hands-on activities, performances, etc.
For one of the editions, we were commissioned by the administrative council of Neukölln to design and set up an exhibition that could accommodate the different needs of the community living in the neighbourhood, particularly the community of blind people.
How do you create an exhibition — something that relies heavily on visual input — that can be experienced by people with different abilities?
We started by figuring out which senses are more likely to be shared and experienced by everyone, even if in different levels — hearing and touch.
With that in mind we searched for a common denominator, something that could connect the senses at work while also keeping it interesting to every visitor, no matter their physical abilities. Music fulfilled all the requisites as even those with limited hearing can perceive music's vibration.
By turning our gallery into an all-white music box we created a visually neutral space to everyone. Tactile objects and small installations were designed and built-in in the space — musical devices that could be used to produce sound, and music when "played" at the same time.
The resulting audio installation (the music box) only reaches its full potential through the interactive and collaborative participation of the visitors. A participation that, by not being dependent on sight, becomes accessible to everyone.
By focusing on the palpable and audio attributes the installation rendered the sense we mostly rely on to perceive the world, irrelevant. Upon entering the gallery, one enters a parallel world consisting almost exclusively of auditory and haptic stimuli. What is in display isn't important. In turn, what you can experience and produce with it, is.
Project: Music Was My First Love / Nacht und Nebel Year: 2012 With: Good Wives and Warriors, Paul Brandi, Jorinde Leonhardt