Blindspot - Feeling Cities

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Description: The Action Researcher/Performer was driven around various familiar and unfamiliar areas of inner city Sydney with a blindfold.  At particular intervals, she was deposited out of the car onto the street so that she could try and determine her exact location.  As she smelt, touched, listened and even tasted the surroundings, the Action Researcher/Performer announced what cues were being sensed.  Photographs documenting her travels validated or disproved assertions of successful recognition of place.  Blindfolded, the Action Researcher/Performer walked at a much slower pace than normal, moving forward by touching everything in her immediate path.  The body’s reduced sensory capability rapidly increased the feeling of exposure, vulnerability and danger, yet heightened its sensitivity to the other remaining sensory functions.  Becoming increasingly aware of and interested in the tactile surface of city environments, she touched the city with greater intimacy and intent, demonstrating how as one's sensory capacity and its communication to site mechanisms fail, others attempt to take over, to fill the perception gap.  The Action Researcher/Performer was unable to correctly discern any of the places where she was deposited, even though characteristic features were thought to have been identified.  The sounds, tactile evidence and smells emanating from the different locations proved too generic to distinguish the sense of any particular place.  

© Astra Howard 2014