Blind world is explored in a unique exhibition

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Blind world is explored in a unique exhibition

“We have images of the blind as helpless war veterans, hard hit by fate and relying upon the sympathy of others,” said Andreaas Heinecke, the founder of Dialogue in the Dark. “Our strongest impressions are of a visual nature.

However, lack of vision need not mean despair, because the lack of vision is compensated by another kind of ‘seeing’ whereby everyday life assumes a different quality.”
In the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition, blind guides lead groups of visitors through dark rooms where each person can experience everyday activities by scent, touch and sound, without being able to see a single thing. In these specially-made rooms, spaces such as a park, a city street or a bar ARE recreated. Instead of the blind being led by people with sight, the exact opposite situation is played out ― the blind get to introduce the rest of us to their world to share the beauty that they experience without vision.
Dialogue in the Dark was created as a touring exhibition and opened in Germany in 1988. Ever since then, over 5 million people (as of October 2006) have had a chance to experience the world of the visually impaired. Of these, more than 50 percent have returned for a second or third experience. After 28 years and 130 cities the exhibition has now arrived in Korea. The exhibition will run from Jan. 5 to Feb. 25.

The Seoul exhibition has been sponsored by the Seoul city government, SBS Artech and EMS Asia Pacific. The Dialogue in the Dark organizers decided to recreate the streets of Seoul for this exhibition. With around 660 square meters available at the Hangaram Design Museum, visitors will feel like they are walking through the city’s streets and parks. During the 60-minute tour, they will have to completely abandon their reliance on sight and pay their own bus fare, get on the bus, walk to a bar and order drinks with help from blind guides. Visitors will tour the dark rooms in groups of eight to 10.

For the Korean opening on Jan. 5, the exhibition’s creator. Andreaas Heinecke, will be present along with prominent figures such as Jung Hwa-won. Mr. Jung, a member of the Grand National Party, is blind, and he will attend the opening and participate as a guide.

The Dialogue in the Dark 2007 exhibition will be held at the Seoul Arts Center’s Hangaram Design Museum. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are 20,000 won ($22). The nearest subway is Nambu Bus Terminal station, line No. 3, exit 4 or 5. For more information, call (02) 3444-1917 or visit

by Cho Jae-eun
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