Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Dialog In The Dark" exhibit about experience of being blind opens in NY City

From WABC-TV in NY City:

NEW YORK -- Nearly 300 million people across the world are visually impaired, and 39 million of them are blind. Now there's a new exhibit that allows you to experience life as a blind person would, relying on other senses to such a greater degree.

"Dialog In The Dark" begins in the light where you're given canes, then you enter the Immersion Room where soon the lights go all the way down.

We can't see a thing And we rely on our tour guide Keith, and our other senses, to get us through. We're told there's nothing dangerous about this tour, but we're all still worried about tripping.

One stop along the way is at a grocery store. Imagine shopping for items you can't see. Here, it's all about touch.

This is all incredibly challenging, but our guide encourages us along until the lights come back up in the end, our vision restored. That's when we actually get to see our guide, who is visually impaired. He hopes this experience is educational.

"I like to talk to people about what's your take away and how differently after this you'll treat the person on the street," Keith said.

All the guides are visually impaired or blind, and in this exhibition, rely on them to be our eyes and they help us to see what we're also capable of.

"It's extremely satisfactory for the visitor at the end because they realize what they can accomplish in the dark," Keith said.

And maybe it will encourage people to be a little more empathetic. "Dialog In The Dark" opens this weekend. Tickets are about 23-28 dollars depending on when you go. And it's recommended for ages seven and up.