Tangible Access to Art and Knowledge
artecontacto translates both as Art Contact and Art with Touch. Our mission is to provide access to art and knowledge through multisensory experiences. We work with 3D Printing, replicas in different materials, tactile diagrams and original artworks to give the sense(s) back to art. Touch Tours and adaptations of exhibitions allow all visitors - including the visually impaired - to experience meaningfull and independent access to culture.
Video of implementation at Vienna's Technological Museum.
The Methodology of artecontacto consists of two parts:
Firstly, regular guided tours of approx. one hour and a maximum of 10 participants.
Works can be touched, either the original, or a 2-dimensional diagram, or in a 3-D representation of the object. Guided by an art historian and at least one social worker, according to group size.
Second, a set of materials that allows the blind visitors to explore the exhibition by
themselves, or in the company of friends and family, however, and whenever they want. The materials are developed in close collaboration with the VRVis Forschungs GmbH and the Technische Universität in Vienna, as well as user groups, such as visually impaired persons.
Besides Braille wall tags for the selected works and a navigation system through the galleries, a specially designed kit helps the visitor to explore, perceive and understand the exhibition.
We use 3D printing in the Museum context to provide multisensory access to objects that cannot be touched, either for conservation reasons, or because they are too big, or too small to understand. Or because they do not have any tactile information beforehand, but can be translated or enhanced for a more complete understanding. The 3D modeling and the elaboration of reliefs is based on the research project Tactile Paintings, by the VRVis Institute Vienna. The evaluation of models is done in close collaboration with the local communities of blind and visually impaired art lovers.
The audio guide has been developed in DAISY, a special format for audible books
for the blind. It works with prerecorded "real" voices, which are then assembled by
the computer into MP3 files, from a word document and within seconds. The
complete audio book can be downloaded on the museum website and installed on
the visitor's own Daisy player.
For those who do not bring their own player, we use an iPod Shuffle to reproduce
the MP3s. This player works without a display and can be navigated easily.
Each work of art is described in three parts:
1. Author, title, year and technique;
2. Formal description;
3. Interpretation and artist details.
The forth file is a description of how to get to the next work.
A special tape that has a very rough surface provides the navigation system in
the galleries. The way through the exhibition corresponds to a tactile map. Last minute changes to the installation can be integrated into the navigation system and the tactile plan.
For more information, please get in touch(at)artecontacto.org.
1. artecontacto Materials:
2. Other Materials:
A INCLUSÃO PELA ARTE: MUSEUS E PÚBLICOS COM DEFICIÊNCIA VISUAL
Master Thesis by Patrícia Roque Martins (in Portuguese). Download PDF.
Picture books accessible to blind and visually impaired children
Document by Beatrice Christensen Sköld (in English). Download PDF.
How to make tactile pictures understandable to the blind reader, by Yvonne Eriksson. Download PDF.
3. Useful Links:
Klango Network, a social network for the visually impaired.
RoboBraille, an e-mail service which can convert digital text documents into either Braille or audio files.
Artists With Disability
Blind With Camera - Photographs by the Visually Impaired
Evgen Bavcar - Blind Photographer
The Art House - UK
Disability Arts Organization
Arts Access Victoria – Australia
Casa das Artes da Fundação Liga - Portugal
The International Organizations on Arts and Disability - USA
Disability Arts Online – UK
Capacitart Arte y Discapacidad - Spain
National Arts and Disability Center – USA
Arts and Disability Directory and Information
Arts and Disability Directory and Information for Ireland
Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Spain
Museum Thyssen Bornemisza- Spain
Tate: British and international modern and contemporary art - UK
Philadelphia Museum of Art – USA
The Dayton Art Institute - USA
The Museum of Modern Art - USA
Canadian Centre on Disability Studies – Canada
Revista “INTEGRACIÓN” – Once – Spain
Centre for Disability Studies – University of Leeds - UK
Centre for Disability Research – Lancaster University – UK
School of Museum Studies – University of Leicester - UK