Max Arends, NOUSdigital, Austria, Max Arends, NOUSdigital, Austria
Eye to Ear—Gallery of Audible Images combines sound design, verbal image descriptions, and interaction on any tablet with an Android operating system. The app makes it possible for blind and partially sighted people to participate more fully in cultural activities. What’s more, it also provides a new intuitive and extremely exciting approach to paintings, drawings, and photographs for those without visual impairments. The key lies in its combination of linguistic description, sophisticated interaction and sound design, which makes it possible for users to research individual zones acoustically. It has shown that this fusion of language and sound opens up a much broader spectrum on the intersection of cognition and intuition than descriptions alone are capable of doing. The project was produce for and debuted at the Kunstforum Vienna January for the exhibition “Georgia O’Keeffe”. This collaborative project between two creative technology partners, Katharina Götzendorfers and Verena Blöchls, and Bank of Austria Kunstforum gained a lot of attention, winning recognition prizes from Digital Business Trends Awards 2016, IIIDA Award 2017, CCA Golden Venus Award 2017, and the Red Dot Design Award 2017.
The success of the project ‘Eye to Ear – Gallery of Audible Images’ lies in the intensive research phase with the relevant stakeholders – among them the Austrian society of the blind and visually impaired, art mediators and curators, an extensive design and testing phase before the actual product was tackled. The workshop aims to demonstrate the individual phases of research, design, prototyping, testing and product design as a best practice for innovative digital projects.