An exciting art installation in Naples, Italy, is challenging people's preconceptions about the abilities (or lack thereof) of visually impaired patients. Artist Annalaura Di Luggo hopes this new installation will help visitors better recognize how people in the modern world often perpetuate false assumptions about the blind community.
Di Luggo's exhibit, called Blind Vision, is now housed in the Paulo Colosimo Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired near the Naples National Archaeological Museum. Raisa Clavijo is the curator of this installation.
People who visit this installation first have to walk down a ramp into the institute's basement area. There's only a bit of light at the top of the chamber to lead visitors into the complete blackness of the basement area.
Once visitors reach the pitch-black basement, they hear music interspersed with conversations. At random moments, lights of all different colors flash through the room. After a few moments of this relative chaos, guests can hear a woman's voice describe what it's like to live each day with blindness. Also, a huge illuminated blue eye turns at the very top of the room.
Once the young woman's story is finished, the basement goes black once more. A few moments later, a new eye appears on the ceiling and another person shares his experiences with blindness.
People who've witnessed this part of the event say the clear eyes above them look like different planets floating through the night's sky.
It's particularly heart-wrenching seeing retinas and pupils that are distorted or abnormally formed. Some of the chilling phrases guests remember from blind patients' testimonials include, "I wish I could see my mother's face," and "Just because I am blind, it doesn't mean I am stupid."
Di Luggo's installation is highly praised for its superb audio and visual technology. Indeed, Di Luggo specifically designed all of the cameras herself for this installation.
When guests have finished touring the main installation area, they can visit two other rooms to take in supplemental works. The first room has an intriguing sculpture of an eye supported by a pedestal. This sculpture was designed to be touched so visitors can get a sense of how the inner eye actually feels.
Di Luggo hopes people who take the time to feel around this eye sculpture will understand how reliant blind patients become on the other four senses. She also wants visitors to understand how fine-tuned these senses of touch, smell, hearing, and taste become once they lose their vision.
The second room contains remarkable photographs of Di Luggo and the patients at the Paulo Colosimo Institute. In almost all of the photos, Di Luggo stresses the importance of the sense of touch as a means of communication and trust between people with normal sight and the visually impaired.
At the end of the installation tour, guests can also watch a documentary film about the Blind Vision project. This film, which was directed by Nanni Zedda, gives viewers a sense of the incredible work Di Luggo put into this project and her deep compassion for the Paulo Colosimo Institute's patients.
Anyone interested in visiting Blind Vision must contact the Paolo Colosimo Institute ahead of time to schedule an appointment.