mb – I guess I’ve lost my knack (if I ever had one) for explaining myself in these kinds of pseudo-philosophical ramblings. Of course blind people are perfectly capable of forming concepts. I do feel there is a close link between vision and the ability to substitute a web of abstractions for experiential reality, present or imagined/recalled, but hasten to add that this will only happen in certain kinds of cultures that privilege signifier over signified. Objectification happens when we treat abstactions as concrete. I wonder if we would be as prone to that fallacy if we were as immersed in the world as the blind are.

marja-leena – I would much sooner give up sight than hearing, though no doubt if I were a visual artist I’d feel differently.

Ruth – That’s very interesting. It reminds me of a very beautiful story I read a long time ago, by Junichiro Tanizaki, I think, about a blind masseuse.

rr – Thanks. I guess that answeres my question about art designed to be touched! I especially liked this quote:

One piece – made from cast nylon – shows the movements of a bird’s wings in flight, and like most of the other works can be touched as well as viewed.

Another – entitled Pinky and Perky – is a large, latex bra with the cups sculpted into pigs’ heads.

Although the artist, Carrie Riechardt, offered to wear it for the exhibition, it was decided that it would be better displayed on a tailor’s dummy.

Re: seeing vs. hearing, yes, but the ears can’t take take the entire shape of a composition at one that way the eyes, at a suitable distance, can give us the illusion of taking in an entire work of art.

twitches – Thanks.

butuki – Your stories make me think that an art object isn’t that much different from a religious object. Both religious icon and secularized sculpture or painting possess a kind of medicine power that might be drained by too-familiar association. As the philosopher Al Lingis once put it, the sacred is that which repels our advance. That is what the high priests would have us believe, at any rate.