Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness - Drop in VR Experience


Please note: This event took place in July 2016

“Notes on Blindness is one of the first great virtual reality experiences” Thomas McMullan,

Entry to the VR project is free and will be on a drop in basis. Each experience lasts for 30mins and will run throughout the day between 14:00 - 21:00 in Waterside 1.

This innovative Virtual Reality (VR) and interactive companion project to the acclaimed British documentary Notes on Blindness allows users to access a world of blindness in an exploratory, user-led experience. Based on the audio diaries of theologian John Hull who - after being told he would lose his sight in 1983 - knew if he did not try to understand blindness it would destroy him. His recordings form a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, documenting his discovery of a world beyond sight.

This VR piece draws upon John's sensory meditations of blindness, in particular the awakening of his appreciation of acoustic space. Guided by narration from his original audio diaries, the experience uses binaural sound tethered to real-time 3D visualisation, to map environments built up through multi-layered patterns of sound. It recently won the prestigious Tribeca Storyscapes award, garnering praise for its meticulous and elegantly crafted audio landscape, its care and compassion for both the project's protagonist and its audience, and its profound closing message that being human is not seeing, it's loving.

  • Action for Blind People will also be in attendance with an information desk between 14:00 - 19:00 to talk about their work providing free practical and emotional advice and support to people who are blind or partially sighted and their friends and families.

Please note: Both the documentary film and the VR project are designed as standalone but complimentary productions that hope to enhance and deepen the audience’s understanding of John Hull’s life and experience of blindness.

The tour is a collaborative production by Curzon Artificial Eye and Sheffield Doc/Fest, and is supported by Film Hubs North, Scotland and North West Central’s This Way Up Exhibition Innovation Fund and the BFI’s Distribution Fund. Presented in partnership with iDocs.

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