We live in a visual culture. Our daily ability to understand cultural references and have collective visual experiences shapes our discourse with our greater surrounding. Imagine never knowing what the mystery smile of the Mona Lisa looks like, or not being able to experience any work of art at all with out being told what it looks like. Imagine never being able to experience on your own how a piece of art makes you feel. For millions of blind people over the world, that is an everyday reality. Unseen Art, a project creating 3D models of master artworks, will change the art experience for the blind forever. With the help of resources from all over the world, the Unseen Art team is gathering information in order to create 3D documents of classic works, such as the Mona Lisa, to be printed in 3D form. Even better, the project is sharing these models for free, making sure that their information can be accessed anywhere in the world there is an 3D printer. Through the collaboration of 3D technicians, artists, and the visually impaired, the project has started to become a reality. With a little help, the project will be able to launch major gallery shows, create a 3D art community to constantly improve the project, and, ultimately, make art more accessible than ever.
“It would be a revolution to get blind people going to art galleries,” states Eija-Liisa, the cultural director of The Blind Federation of Finland.