Legally Deafblind / 1997-2009
Legally Deafblind is an experiential and interactive multimedia body of work about individuals who are Deafblind, the importance of language and communication as a window to independence and an intimate journey of discovery about our individual dependencies on our senses. It combines the use of the technologies used in the field to aid and assist individuals who are deafblind, along with new designs and use of technologies to create the experience of deafblindness for the citizen. The work combines documentary photographs of Deafblind individuals from Canada, Nepal, France, Mexico, Netherlands, and Israel, as well as, the series ‘Legally Blind” for the citizen to reflect upon portraits of those who live in this world with Deafblindness, and a Multimedia 3 room sensory interactive experience.
Legally Deafblind started in 1997 as a photographic social documentary work aiming to capture the existent realities of deafblind individuals internationally. As the international documentary body of work began to exhibit, I was often asked “Are they completely deaf and completely blind?” No, in fact they are not, only a minority within the deafblind community is completely deaf and completely blind. The lack of information and misunderstanding in the general public inspired the expansion of Legally Deafblind into a photo based technology oriented, experiential and interactive multimedia body of work that creates a safe environment for exploration and experimentation.
I began to seek new ways of using photography to create awareness and promote social change. I wanted the work to become a personal journey for the audience, where the social reality documented became their own personal experience, thus facilitating a better in-body experience, a better understanding of the reality of Legal deafblindness and a personal reflection/discussion on how we use our senses to create meanings of ourselves and the world around us.
Legally Deafblind consists of three bodies of work:
Perceptions of Light
International photo documentary images of individuals who are deafblind at different stages of their lives with different degrees of deafblindness from Canada, Nepal, France, Israel, Netherlands and Mexico. (40 - 20x24” BW images, 1997-2008).
Legally Blind 2005
To be legally blind does not mean complete blindness, yet it still represents a great struggle to be losing or to have partially lost the one sense upon which the average person is most dependent. For a person who is deaf and losing their sight, such a loss becomes a loss of freedom. These individuals will eventually become fully dependent on touch to communicate.
Loss of vision can be due to tunnel vision, Usher Syndrome, bad cataracts, Retinal Detachment, Retinas Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma amongst others.
This body of work is an exploration of different degrees of blindness experienced by Canadian deafblind individuals.
The series consists of 5 – 40” x 40” photo based works on canvas.
Multimedia Installation 2009
Experiential and Immersive environment consisting of three multimedia installations that explore the inner landscapes and sensorial experience of a place when being deafblind (2009). The research behind this installation comes from the Acquired population (Individuals who have not been born deafblind but that have acquired it).