Multimedia exhibition “Invisible Lives” opened in Cesis

For the first time in Latvia, a visual art exhibition adapted for people with visual impairment has been created. In the exhibition “Invisible Lives”, you can familiarize yourself with the content of the images by listening to audio descriptions i.e., tiflo-commentary, while tactile signs help you navigate the room. The multimedia exhibition “Invisible lives” is available from June 9 in Vidzeme concert hall “Cesis”.

Fifteen photographers from Latvia, Serbia and Montenegro in cooperation with representatives of the Latvian Society of the Blind in Cesis and curator Līga Lindenbauma have created a unique multimedia exhibition “Invisible Lives”. It tells the story of visually impaired people living in Cesis and their experiences. Approaching their lives with documentary, metaphorical and poetic techniques – the everyday life of the characters is revealed through the eye of the camera. The exhibition is complemented by a soundtrack – favorite sound recordings of the people in the photographs and fragments from interviews. Specially prepared audio commentary is also available, designed for people with visual impairment, so that they can familiarize themselves with the visual content of the exhibition. The exhibition is produced by Rucka Art Foundation.

“Together with the exhibition team, we discovered a new world during the creation of the project, because until now we knew very little about the community of blind and partially sighted people. We realized that visual impairment is a broad spectrum with different visual difficulties. Only part of the community is completely blind, others are able to see at certain angles or distances, perceive light, volumes and even read a text when properly presented. We tried to use this knowledge in developing the layout and design of the exhibition. We studied the local and international guidelines for providing an accessible environment, we studied the experience of western museums and the solutions implemented in them to promote the accessibility of art,” Līga Lindenbauma, curator of the exhibition, says.

Producer Agnese Zviedre goes on the accessibility of the exhibition: “In the exhibition “Invisible lives” it is possible to familiarize yourself with what is seen in the photographs by listening to audio descriptions. Looking at a picture, we notice objects, their location, context, artistic solutions, read symbols. But if the image must be presented in a form of text, the question arises – where to start, how to describe the image in detail and how to do it as objectively as possible? The texts of tiflo-commentary were written by poet Evelīna Andžāne, and the representatives of the Latvian Society of the Blind helped a lot, they advised us and gave their suggestions. Listening to a tiflo-commentary makes you want to look at the photos again as they draw attention to details that may not be visible in the picture. Thus, audio descriptions in the exhibition create an additional dimension that becomes interesting for all visitors, not only people with visual impairment.”

Tiflo commentaries were developed in cooperation with the leading technology localization company in the Baltics – Tilde. With the help of speech synthesis technology, the written text was converted into voice. Text-to-speech system (TTS) created by Tilde converts plain text into speech, enabling visually impaired people to use computer programs, browse the Internet, and communicate via e-mail, but in this case, perceive the images displayed in the exhibition.

The exhibition can be attended free of charge until August 14, 2022 in Vidzeme concert hall “Cesis”. The exhibition was created within the framework of the project “Invisible lives” financed by the Creative Europe programme “Culture”, implemented by Rucka Art Foundation in cooperation with the association Kulturanova (Serbia) and the association Art365 (Montenegro). The exhibition is co-financed by the Society Integration Foundation and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, supported by the Ministry of Welfare, the State Cultural Capital Foundation (funding through the programme “Kultūr/elpa”), JSC “Latvijas valsts meži”, Vidzeme Planning Region and Cesis Culture and Tourism Center. Cooperation partners of the project are the Society of the Blind of Latvia and the shopping center Origo, the exhibition was presented in the new building of it in spring. Supporters – AAS Balta, Tilde, Design Elevator and Solavi.

The exhibition works were created by photographers Boris Abramović (RS), Elīne Buka (LV), Irena Čučković (RS), Aleksandra Drečun (ME), Paulis Jakušonoks (LV), Sara Kecman (RS), Stefan Kosanović (RS), Monta Krūze (LV), Duško Miljanić (ME), Ana Mitrović (ME), Darko Sretic (RS), Eva Strazdiņa (LV), Nada Vojinović (ME), Nicole Lee Zvaigzne (LV), Miloš Zvicer (ME). Exhibition curator – Līga Lindenbauma.

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