Principal Investigator: David Lyons
Curated by: Raz Ullah
Double Blind Test Series is an exhibition of print works highlighting the artistic research by David Lyons, lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Arts Media and Game Design at Abertay University. The series was conceived as a visual investigation of sensually expressive printmaking, concentrating on the issues surrounding Braille as a design element in his printmaking, paying particular attention to the approaches and techniques used not only in producing his visual style but to those techniques used to keep it tactile.
Lyons produced 12 prints that use visual elements from various sources. The layouts and colours are influenced by the Ishihara Colour Blind Test plates and his readings on colour blindness. Selections of text from William Blake, Aldous Huxley and Tom Wolfe are used as visual texture. Text is also set in Braille and Braille numerals are used in an abstracted and enlarged form. Tactile texture is introduced through Braille, paper selection, printing inks, varnishes and embossing.
As Braille is a communication tool in decline, Lyons asserts that the increasing abandonment of Braille frees it from its restrictive constraints, opening it to exploration and experimentation, and that this may result in Braille becoming a dynamic form of expression for the sighted. Lyons plays with perception, by inviting the viewer to experience Braille through sight, and not touch.
Whereas Braille messages are hidden from the sighted, numbers and patterns are hidden from the colour blind. The prints can therefore be experienced differently depending on one’s perception. Lyons’s series of prints are visually and tactically expressive, engaging the blind, the colour blind, partially sighted and the sighted.
In support of the exhibition the HMC facilitated a panel discussion which formed part of the DARE to be Digital fringe programme. This event brought together academics, experts in the field of vision, artists and designers to exchange knowledge, inspire meaningful design for the blind and explore gaming for the blind and fine art for the blind. The discussion uncovered new perceptions and insights, broadening ideas for the gaming development process and revealed innovative design methodologies.