Blind Dreamers, Erin Lewis, 2011.

And I was looking in the refrigerator while I was waiting for my grandmother to be ready to go, because my grandmother was also going to go on the walk with me. I was looking in it and seeing the different foods, and the light, the way it came on in our fridge when I was younger and I could still see. And people were talking, I don’t remember who exactly, but they were discussing a recipe which sounded especially unappealing to me, something about some low fat chicken parts or something and my mom was talking about replacing that with beef and how it didn’t work very well. — dream excerpt from Blind Dreamers

Blind Dreamers is a felted wall hanging that uses Braille to spell out the word “sight” in large scale. This work is a “data materialization” based on text analysis of 238 recorded dreams from blind women. The vision variance among this group of women range from those who have been diagnosed as ‘legally blind’ (having 20% or less of their vision), and who have been completely blind since the age of 5 onwards.  Using software to analyze the text, I was able to extract the predominant sense used when these woman described their dreams. The most used sense for these blind dreamers is, ironically, “sight”.  In some cases this may be “seeing in the mind’s eye”, though physical sight may come into play for those with lesser degrees of blindness, or who are able to recall their sight memories from early childhood (~5 years).

A common reaction to felted pieces is the desire to touch it.  Just as with Braille in its common use, participants are permitted to run their hands over the surface of the felt, and therefore the Braille lettering. By running one’s hands over the Braille letters, one stimulates their tactile sense while attempting to understand the letters beneath their skin.