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Sight Unseen

Sight Unseen invites visitors to reconsider their views on blindness and perception. It reveals how sight can make us blind to reality. It shows the potential everyone holds when we’re free to express ourselves. View a video about photographer Pete Eckert, who says “the eye is not always the most important thing in taking a picture.”

The core exhibition features works by 12 artists and one collective – all people with varying degrees of vision loss – who use different technologies and creative methods to express what they see. It challenges visitors to reconsider notions of blindness and disability. It connects us all as human beings who rely on imagery and freedom of expression to communicate with each other, and make sense of our world.

“When we imagine things, we exist,” says Evgen Bavcar, one of the featured artists, who lost his sight as a child in Slovenia after an accident with a mine detonator. “I can’t belong to this world if I can’t imagine it in my own way. When a blind person says, ‘I imagine,’ it means he too has an inner representation of external realities.”

A unique aspect of the CMHR exhibition is the addition of three-dimensional, tactile versions of select works in the exhibition, using innovative technology developed by 3DPhotoWorks. Touch-activated sensors have also been embedded in some of the images to provide audio descriptions.

These cutting-edge features – together with audio information that flows through the Museum’s mobile app, in-gallery “cane stops,” universal access points with braille and raised numbers, and accessible wayfinding – ensure a rich experience for blind and sighted visitors alike.

Interactive stations provide hands-on experiences to enhance visitors’ perceptions about the sensory world, and promote discussion about accessibility. An in-gallery film highlights one photographer’s methodology and vision for his art.

Sight Unseen, not only shifts perceptions about people with vision loss, but questions the limitations imposed by sight – which is so pervasive and powerful that it can render us unaware of our own “blindness.”

Curated by Douglas McCulloh, Sight Unseen originated at UCR/California Museum of Photography, an affiliate institution of ARTSblock of the University of California, Riverside, and is toured by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions. It has never before been shown in Canada.

Please be advised that some of the exhibits contain nudity.