The concept is remarkably simple: while in completely dark spaces, blind people guide an audience, in small groups, through the exhibition space. Through the use of diverse smells, air drafts, temperature changes, sounds and textures, different sceneries are recreated. For example a park, a city, a market, a boat ride, a sound chamber, and a bar. By eliminating the use of vision, everyday situations become completely new experiences.
WHAT IS DIALOGUE IN THE DARK?
In this way, the roles are reversed: the blind, who are used to not relying on their vision for their everyday lives, become un-impaired in a dark setting. Here, they become the guides, and they guarantee orientation, and mobility, they become ambassadors of a world where images do not matter.
The seeing visitors, on the other hand, are stripped from their social routines and perceptive habits. Deprived of their main sense of perception, they come to confront their own limitations. Here, they become impaired and have to trust a stranger, while coming to rely on a social group relationship in order to go through a most basic experience.
If the visit to the exhibition began with feelings of insecurity and uneasiness, eventually the experience becomes an adventure of the senses, and it leads to prejudice-free interactions. Previously dismissed perceptions become clear and present; barely noted information serves to form a non-visual map, making the visitors’ sense of fantasy thrive.
A world without visual stimulation – a world defined by non-visual components, a society in which communication becomes a link between people, as opposed to looks. Only those who speak exist. Whoever shuts out will lose its presence in the unassailable darkness.
A change in perspective takes place, in which the non-visual elements become integrated into the construction of the world. The people with impairments are perceived and valued in a new way, not through their deficiencies. These deficiencies create opportunities, which can be discussed and exchanged, within the frame of the exhibition. All this occurs in a familiar way, not formally, but entertainingly, surprisingly, flexibly, with humour, and openly.
This exhibit is a place for social learning, regarding the acceptance of our differences.
Dialogue in the Dark does not preach or lecture but tries to become a place of encounter for people from different backgrounds and characteristics. It seeks to promote respect and increased tolerance regarding the relationship between different people and members of minorities, which makes it certainly a strong demonstration of how inclusion can be brought to life.