The Blind Alphabet project commenced in the early 1990s, and is ongoing. It consists of a series of boxes, each concealing a sculptural object. On the top of each box is an explanatory text about the object, written in braille. Therefore each piece can only be ‘viewed’ by sighted people with the aid of a visually impaired guide, who is able to read the Braille, lift the lid, and enable access to the object inside.
The installation works as a sensorial inversion: the blind are the only ones able to touch, interpret and access the objects on display, thus recontextualising the ability to ‘see’ a work of art. The work, in situ, appears like a kind of military graveyard, with rows of what might be tombstones neatly laid out. But in reality it functions as a massive dictionary of the objects concealed in the boxes, each beginning with a letter of the alphabet.
Boshoff suggests a new word for describing the blind people who become the interpreters of the installation: ‘CHIROSOPHIST’. This means hand-wise or hand thinker.
Artwork courtesy of MTN Art Collection.
Blind Alphabet B
Wood, steel, aluminium