Action Painting: A Musical Composition

“Action Painting” is a musical composition created in response to a painting from our 2016 Dialogue Beyond Sight Exhibition. This musical composition was done at the chamber orchestra, in Malaga, Spain, by music composer and orchestra conductor Mr. Antonio Moral Jurado, and reveals a process that mimics the relation and points of union between approaches to a pictorial work and approaches to a musical work.

Spanish artist Ismael Moga attended our collaborative exhibition, and was one of the many sighted artists who contributed immensely to the dialogue around cross-disciplinary practice with visually impaired and blind creative practitioners. His painting, AfterHere, was created during a workshop activity run by British artist Rachel Gadsden, who co-curated the exhibition.

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AfterHere, painting by Ismael Moga

Image: AfterHere, by Ismael Moga.

“Action Painting” uses reference points such as style, movement, speed, energy and all those elements that give surface and colour to the painting’s texture. It also uses as a starting point the musical work, idealisation and abstraction of the creative process in the creation of the watercolour painting “AfterHere”.

In this composition, Ismael was looking to create a framework for action, by channelling certain sounds and gestural impulses happening through the harmonic and temporal spaces, which may sometimes be limiting. “Its leads to the obtaining of certain timbral or tonal determinations and colour implications, a function of the alternation between themselves”, Ismael said.
Below is the musical composition ACTION PAINTING, by Mr Antonio Moral Jurado.

Credits:

Artist: Mr Ismael Moga.
Musical composition title: Action Painting.
Author: Mr Antonio Moral Jurado, 2017.Music commissioned by Mr. David García Carmona, Director of Chamber Orchestra of the CSM of Malaga, Spain.
Director of Orchestra: David García Carmona.

Dialogue Beyond Sight exhibition is a MaMoMi project supported by Arts Council England

LUMO at Design Museum: Exploring Light and Sound

The multisensory tour at Design Museum, titled Light, Sound and the Built Environment, which took place on Saturday 11 July, used new technologies in the museum’s collection and current exhibitions to explore the senses of light and sound, and how technology has in itself been used to improve our lives. Among the devices explored were Lumo, Leaf Light, Light Scores and the Responsive Street Furniture.

The multisensory approach allows us to communicate in ways not previously appreciated, enabling a richer, more valuable experience for users. These tours take an objective approach to interpretation and involve our participants in an engaging and insightful dialogue around the object explored. We believe that interpretation should be about sharing and learning through exploration.

Lumo at Design Museum 1
Visually impaired participant using LUMO.

About LUMO:
LUMO is a small, portable and affordable real time graphic reader which enables blind and visually impaired to read shapes, graphs, diagrams and colour directly from paper, textbook or sketch book. It converts black lines into vibration and translates colour into sound. On our live test during this tour, we found that it was particularly useful for blind people, especially those with no colour or light reference.

Designed by Anna Wojdecka in 2013 and first exhibited at the Royal College of Art show in 2014, LUMO was specially developed to enable blind people read and draw shapes, graphs and diagrams and also recognise colours. Even though its still in early phases of development it has already been recognised by users, RNIB and the health tech industry for its capacity to change lives and open up new fields of study to the blind and visually impaired, and for its innovation and inventiveness. The model we tried was the prototype, as seen above, but the final design will look like this, in the image below.

Lumo prototypeLUMO reads the surface of a page and translates graphical data into tactile and sound feedback. It converts black lines into vibration and colours into sound tones. Each colour calibrates to a different sound pitch, allowing the blind person identify the various hues of colour. For a first time user, you will have to make the sound reference to each colour, for example, the single tone is a primary colour (yellow, blue or red), while the double tonal sound comes from secondary colours (green, violent and orange), the mixture of primary colours. On the colour chart we used, you noticed that blue has the lowest pitch and yellow was the highest. The other colours have double tones because they represent the sound of the 2 or more primary colours used to make up that colour. Watch the video below to see and hear Lumo in action.


LUMO designer Anna demonstrates how it works.

When exploring black lines or colours, the LUMO creates a vibration. The black and white LUMO reader vibrates to indicate lines. Our visually impaired participants were very impressed with the use and functionalities of LUMO and are also aware that the device is still in development.

LUMO is an affordable real-time solution which makes existing learning environments more inclusive, as well as enriching the interaction between blind and sighted students.

Lumo at Design Museum 2

If you are keen to explore how LUMO works, or want to plan a multisensory tour around the LUMO device, please feel free to contact us via email at info@mamomiinitiative.com.
You can also contact us via twitter at @mamomi_i


The next multisensory tour:
The next multisensory tour at Design Museum is scheduled for October 3 2015, and titled WALKING: A LIFESTYLE? This tour will explore walking as a lifestyle and will include a session exploring the shoe-making process, as well as a walk around the local area. Booking information will be published on Design Museum website soon so please keep watching for details.

Design Museum Tour LUMO at Design Museum
All LUMO images used by permission. 2015
A special thank you to Anna Wojdecka, designer of LUMO, for co-facilitating this tour.

LOUIS KAHN: The Power of Architecture

Exploring Access:

LOUIS KAHN Poster

9 July 2014 – 12 October 2014

 

This show at the Design Museum is in its last few weeks of display, and presents the work of one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century, Louis Kahn. Kahn’s early work focused on housing and urban planning, gaining a reputation in the 50’s as an architect of public buildings.

For visitors who are visually impaired or blind, the Access programme can explore a variety of narratives, giving the viewer an opportunity to look at the influence of architecture in our community, explore building design and possibly create a model of one of the iconic buildings Kahn designed. The exhibition has several drawings, prints, videos and models that can be the center of a very engaging discussion.

Kahn envisioned the house as an institution: the smallest architectural entity, from which society and built surroundings are experienced.” – Design Museum

Self-Portrait with a Pipe.  

Graphite on bond paper

Collection of Sue Ann Kahn.

This exhibition presents Kahn’s work within the framework of six central themes including the Eternal Present (which addressed fundamentals of spatial order and formal composition), Community, House (which Kahn envisioned as an institution: the smallest architectural entity, from which society and built surroundings are experienced), Landscape, Science, and City.

Structure, I believe, is the giver of light.” – L. Kahn

Levy Memorial Playground, New York.

Louis Kahn, Isamu Noguchi.

Levy Memorial Playground, New York.

1961-66

Study Model, version 5

Bronze.

At a time when modernism had become a formula of flat roofs, and bland facades, Kahn found a way to give contemporary architecture the spiritual qualities that it had lost in the pursuit of over simplified functional demands.” – Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum

When the work is completed, the beginnings must be felt.” – L. Kahn

About Access at Design Museum.

DesignMuseumTOUCHTOURSimage
Design Museum Touch Tour in progress

The Design Museum aims to make access to design enjoyable and welcoming to the widest possible audience. Whether you’re taking part in the dedicated Access programme or just popping in for a visit, the museum does everything it can to make sure your experience is enjoyable.

Use this link to view the Access page on the Design Museum website, which includes BSL Tours and Touch Tours: http://designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/access


 

The 4-D experience: exploring the multisensory.

Engage, experience and share….looking at the multimodal approach.
Shortbread biscuit used in one of the sessions
MaMoMi Initiative director Andrew Mashigo shares some insights from the pilot multisensory workshop which recently held in London, exploring the multimodal approach in the interpretation of visual art to the blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Photograph: MaMoMi initiative.
The way we all experience life continues to evolve, and our experience of the arts is not devoid of that evolution. The platform and environment for such experiences continues to be enlarged, and over the last one year we have taken the decision to engage, explore and evaluate the multisensory process with renewed interest. The multimodal approach enables artists, art practitioners, artist educators and institutional platforms to communicate the message of art, from traditional, modern, contemporary, to conceptual art. On reflection, It is safe to say that all human communication is inherently multimodal.
When we use the word 4-D, we are referring to the 4 dimensions of senses that supports vision perception; touch, taste, smell and sound. Talking 4-D is talking multimodal, not just 2-D or 3-D which generally engages the geometric or form elements in art, sometimes isolating one or another experience, whereas 4-D for us brings together the use of a rich variety of our existing senses, thereby engaging a fuller and richer experience.
In the context of viewing and enjoying art, we believe that a culture of full engagement with the arts, especially within Museums and other cultural institutions and organisations that collect and conserve art, will enable not only a wider audience but also greater involvement in the arts.
Why the multisensory approach?
Participation in the arts has for very many years gone beyond the traditional realms of the artwork displayed on the museum walls or on plinths. Especially with the advent of conceptual art, the expression and appreciation of arts has for many years taken a new direction, and with new purposes.
When i visit an event or show, i don’t expect to engage just one of my senses. Yes, i admit the art galleries or museums are predominantly visual environments but as mentioned earlier, all human communication is inherently multimodal, whether you are delivering a public speech or watching a football game. 
The current World Cup in Brazil is a particular case in point. Audiences watching the football games are not just watching 2 opposing teams trying to outscore each other. The audiences are now presented with a spectacle of an event involving great games and great viewing, but also some very inspiring advertising that can exploit our other needs and commercial interests, like world cup-themed musical events, and even a newer ways of placing bets, not that i am a betting man! The occasion is the football world cup but the outlook impacts communities, business and society in very many ways. So, for 32 days, the whole world is literally held spell-bound by this event in Brazil. Now, that is capturing football audiences to newer levels and reaches.
The multimodal approach to art interpretation allows us to communicate in ways previously not appreciated, enabling a richer, more valuable experience of the arts, especially as in our case, it encourages involvement in visual arts among the blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Integrating this interactive approach is also very valuable when working with people with special needs and other disabilities. Interpretation here is about learning through exploration.
 
Lloyd approaching the mixed media painting

 

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Tactile representation of mixed media painting shown above

Watching You. 2003

Tactile representation by Tactile Graphics Europe. Photograph: Iris Media Studios

The touch: the Somatosensory experience.
The sense of touch allows us to make a direct connection with objects and surfaces, helping us make viable links with our immediate physical environment. Touch is known in many ways as our first language because as new-born babies, the first thing we do with our mother is to have a sustained cuddle, that crucial connection that aids the mother-child bonding process.
The haptic (active) perception of the tactile process helps us recognize objects, either through its texture, density, weight or temperature. Active touch is different from passive or phlegmatic touch which is inert, whereas with the active we can make viable connection; we explore the character and attributes of the object. Is it soft?; Is it rough?; Is it cold?; Is it conical?; is it hollow? Investigating these various elements helps us make a positive identification of the explored object.
The image shown above is a tactile representation of one of my paintings, a mixed media 3-dimensional painting titled “Watching You”, 2003. The task was to create a replica image that could be used in interpretation sessions at various events and for long periods, without compromising the condition of the original painting. This full-colour thermoplastic print has raised outlines that helps identify selected images in the composition. Identifying the colours is achieved by the use textured sections using lines, dots and raised patterns, all supporting the viable interpretation of the artwork. The tactile image also has braille embedded so added information can be included.
Taste session in progress
Taste session using cake. Cake by Rachael Hill. Photograph: Iris Media Studios.
The taste: Gustatory perception.
Taste is a very tangible sensation and the gustatory is the perception of food or other substances placed in the mouth. Food combines so much in one; taste, smell and texture to form a multisensory experience. Rachael Hill, Co-curator of the workshop, says she really admires the transient nature of food, and adds that this and the process of baking is something that she gets satisfaction from, something she enjoys sharing with others. 
Someone once said “Food is the most revealing part of culture…” and this duality of senses experiment surely provoked a lot of dialogue. Using shortbread biscuits and cakes made in the shape of selected artworks, the participants are able to explore the relationship between the sense of touch, taste and smell. These food items were made in response to some contemporary artworks but were not created as replicas, but instead helping to bring or align viable links between the food items and the artworks. Participants engaged the touch of the baked item, the quality of its sweet taste and the aroma that evoked a rich exploration.
 This session created great debate among the participants and helped us take a critical point of view of the relation between our senses.
The duality of taste and smell about to be explored
Photograph: Iris Media Studios
The Smell: Olfactory perception.
The Olfaction is the sense of smell and the Olfactory receptors are responsible for the detection of smell. The sense of smell is closely related to the sense of taste, and this close association to highlight this viable connection. The food and taste session used biscuits and cakes that had a good amount of seasoning, which on tasting the baked item was identified as a key part of identifying elements in the biscuit and cakes.
Interestingly, sweet smells create a pleasurable feeling while an unpleasant smell very quickly makes for an association with the repugnant.
Art-making session using food items in progress
Art-making session, after touch, taste and smell session. Photograph: Iris Media Studios
The Sound: Auditory sense.
The ability to perceive sound is achieved by the auditory sense, or the auditory perception. Sound is usually detected by the vibrations.
Connecting sound with a place or occasion is a great way to make a connection with or recalling the memory of a place or time. After exploring the senses of touch, taste, smell and sound, we got the participants to make an art piece in response to the session. Here, one of the participants creates an image on the cake canvas.  
Describing the multimodal approach
The multimodal approach is not a new approach but we enjoyed exploring the duality of senses. This pilot session was concluded with broad agreement of the continued need to explore various components that can enrich communication. The interactive is fun, educational and informative and we don’t think the experience may be limited if the process needs to be measurable and sometimes specific. on the contrary, just as with any viable objective or goals, evaluation is key to determining the value of any future proposals. The risk otherwise is to lose what is learnt in the various dialogues between the senses. It is equally important that we are able to capture what resonates with our audience.
A major exhibition in response to this 4-D experience workshop is currently been developed and more information will be circulated in the near future.
Curator and lead facilitator: Andrew Mashigo
Co-Curator and facilitator: Rachael Hill
Facilitator: Laurence Van Der Noordaa
Project Manager: Paul Lewis
Cinematographer: Dr Seth, IRIS Media Studios
Tactile graphics: Touch Graphics Europe

 

     Rachael Hill         | Cakes – Pastries – Shortbread |
MaMoMi | Engage – Experience – Share |
| MaMoMi: Expanding the Possibilities |

The TTP: An accessibility tool that enhances tactile tours in our Museums. 7th July 2013

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If i have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
– Isaac Newton

 
 
Why Technology?

Technology brings great benefits to our lives and we see this 
trend increasingly prevailing in the arts and within arts institutions. 

Besides reaching even more people and creating newer audiences, I am 

pleased to see this trend applied in the Interpretation of visual arts to 

visually impaired and blind people, with tools now more readily accessible 

to enhance tours within Museums and art galleries.

 
 
Imagine you want to read a book or catalogue and you can access a pen that 
 
only relays text information but also image or visual commentary? The 
 
technology to do this is currently available and one of my favourite tools that 
 
is increasingly assisting to bridge the gap between a visual image and the 
 
audience is the TTP (tactile talking pen) by Touch Graphics Europe. This pen 
 
pairs easy functionality, clear audio and other composite features, to aid the 
 
Interpretation of visual content and information in an audio-tactile interactive 
 
book to a blind person.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bernat showing visitors to Touch Graphics stand one of their products.

 
At the recent Museums + Heritage show 2013 at Olympia in London, i met 

with Bernat Franquesa to talk about the TTP pen. Touch Graphics Europe 

provides resources for sensory impairment and accessibility to museums, 

specialising in the design and the production of tactile graphics, audio tactile 

graphics and tactile paving for the blind and visually impaired.

 
The TTP process:
 
TTP technology combines visual and tactile materials with a high quality 
 
“smart pen” that gives more information in an audio format. This process 
 
means we can explore a visual image or an audio message assigned to 
 
different parts of an image. An image can be given several layers of 

information, for example, about a particular aspect of that image, and the 

viewer can then access the different layered contents by using the TTP pen.

 
 
By touching the tip of the pen on any location in the audio book, we hear 
 
information about the area touched. When you tap on the audio book again, 
 
you hear another layer of embedded information. You can use this pen to get 
 
the audio commentary while you touch the surface of the book to explore the 
 
tactile image.

 
The basic principle involved in the creation of this tactile tool is to provide a 
 
platform where a simple version of the visual image can be explored. This 
 
process allows the audio books to hold several layers of information, all 
 
accessible by tapping on the book.

 
This means there is huge capacity to add many layers of specific information 

to the audio book, like the title, dates, period and historical content, design, 

colour, or even a song or music from that period, everything that can bring a 

relevant connection to the image described. The audio commentary can be 

heard through the pen’s in-built speaker, or if needed for a group session, can 

be plugged into main speakers.

 

In a matter of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.”
 – Thomas Jefferson

 
The Advantages:
 
The tactile book does not just rely on good design and visual imagery but is 

also of good production quality and durability, with the capacity to hold a 

huge amount of detailed information. The illustration quality is very good and 

the interactive books can come as tactile cards or ring-bound books.

 
 
The design also includes sufficient spacing between symbols and raised 

images with the result that readers and users are able to feel each part of a 

 
representation clearly. Contact Bernat via details listed at the end of this 
 
article for more information on the different formats.

 
 

Another plus for the interactive book is that the reader can choose to use it 

 
on their own, or it can be used for group sessions and with the support of an 
 
art educator or workshop facilitator, giving it great flexibility of use. This 
 
means Museums that use this tool can also choose to issue them to 
 
visually impaired or blind people on tour of the Museum, just like Audio or 
 
Multimedia guides are currently been used.
 
 
Listen to the video below for a commentary on the use of the Tactile Talking 
 
Pen. The audio-tactile interactive book used in this demonstration is the 
 
Teapots audio book made for the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, 
 
Massachusetts, USA.

 
 
 
 
Bernat’s background with making geographical prints and the making of 

tactile maps (tractography) is one he greatly enjoyed but he has found more 

fulfilment in producing tactile products that enhances lives, enabling blind 

people access to various things.

 

PollWhat artwork would you like in an audio-tactile interactive book?

 
The need for continued research into use of other technologies.
 
As with any new technology, we must be prepared to experiment, explore
 
and monitor how effective the various technologies and supporting tools are. 
 
Museums and heritage homes should be prepared to invest in technology so 
 
we can evaluate, develop and design various strategies for employing them. 
 
In the long-term, this may help bring down the unit cost of Interpretation 
 
tools and improve the opportunity for some of these tools to be 

more regularly used in the Museums, art institutions and by the end-users 

also, the visually impaired and blind people.

 
 
It is undoubted that there is great need for GPS-based devices and other 
 
navigational aids to support blind and the partially sighted as they strive for 
 
an independent life, and we should all be encouraged to advocate for this.
 
 
Making art more visible to the visually impaired and blind visitors to art 
 
institutions not only creates greater access to visual art, but it also 
 
encourages a new audience. These technologies can encourage new 
 
platforms and new discourses for engaging with the arts, and support 
 
improved dialogues and new conversations.
 
 
 

Contact Bernat Franquesa at Touch Graphics Europe
Email: bf@touchgraphicseurope.com

So, why Touch the Art then? 15th May 2013


The pressure of the hands causes the springs of life to flow.” – Tokujiro Namikoshi


Museums are an incredibly engaging environment to spend time in,

whether you are a young student on a school trip, an art student,

a tourist, a parent on a fun day-out with the kids, a tourist, or a

company executive taking time on lunch to unwind, there is always

something to either engage, inspire, amuse or challenge you.

But what kind of engagement can you expect to experience, or

is available to you, if you are a visually impaired or blind visitor?

The beauty of Modern and contemporary art is its relevance to us,

in the here and now, transcending traditional art and a precursor

of conceptual art. Conceptual art in itself is an art type borne out

of ideas, where the visual appearance of the work of art is not an

essential point, often times taking a secondary, probably even

less important significance.


Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” – Carl G. Jung


Touch is one of the 5 senses (which includes sight, hearing, smell

and taste) and while the other senses are located in specific parts

of the body,the sense of touch is found all over the body. The

things we physically come into contact with pass a wide range

of information about their physical characteristics and it is this

information and message that registers in our brain, originating

from the nerve endings on the body via the spinal cord to the brain.

The Somatic sensory system is responsible for our sense of touch

and the  most common receptors in the body are heat, cold, pain and

pressure, and the hands and finger-tips are the most sensitive areas

of our body. The exploratory or inquisitive kind of touch experienced

through this tactile process helps us learn about the world around us.

From the moment we walk into a space, our sense of touch gathers

millions of fragments of information from the surrounding area, from

the cold metal door handle, the hard desk, the soft coat, the hot

coffee, the wet kiss from the dog’s nose, the rough living-room rug,

the smooth table top, and the temperature, texture, weight and sense

of weight of the other objects we come in contact with.

This amazing daily journey, receiving a constant train of

communication from our sense receptors to the brain, is a

natural process that helps us make associations with our

surroundings, and one that is utilized to give the visually

impaired and blind visitor an experience of artworks

in Museums.


Hands are the heart’s landscape” – Pope John Paul II


The Touch tours program in most Museums use this valuable process

to engage with the artworks. Touch does not replicate nor does it

give the same visual perception as the sense of sight but it does

provide a platform where the visualization process of mind-mapping

and mental imagery can be exploited by the visually impaired and

blind visitor, ultimately supporting a greater exploration and

understanding of the characteristics of the objects and works of

art before them.

Touching the art does not only allow the visually impaired and blind

access to artworks but it also encourages new lines of conversation,

dialogue and discussions between the visually impaired and blind,

other interest groups and the art world in general.

Poll: What sculpture would you most want to touch?

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Museums and art galleries are

continually pushing the boundaries and developing new ways of

exploring the varied range of Modern and contemporary art, without

compromising the health and life of the works of art. Curators, art

educators, other museum staff and the viewing public all have a

responsibility to preserve and conserve these valuable works for

generations to come. Museums have guidelines in place to protect

the touchable collection in Museums from damage during these tours,

and you can read my article,

Developing touch tours, which looks at best practice in balancing

access needs and conservation.

I guess the growing challenge is to find more ways to engage

conceptual art, so that these ideas-based art type can also be

shared with and explored by the visually impaired and blind visitors

to Museums.