“Strange, weird, shocking, but natural” – only a few ways how one could describe the kind of experience offered by the Invisible Exhibition in Budapest, Prague and Warsaw. The programme offers a unique and interactive journey into the world of the blind where visitors rely only by what they touch, hear or scent, aimed at making people understand what their world would feel like if they lost one of their most important senses: their sight.
The exhibition gives not just a glimpse, but a shocking, real-life-like encounter of what happens when all the lights go out. Besides learning about the blind in general, visitors are brought into six completely dark and differently furnished spaces including an apartment, a street crossing towards a vegetable stall, a hunting lodge, a forest full of singing birds, and a sculpture museum. In the rooms, people experience how difficult it is to complete such basic human activities such as crossing a road, paying for a cup of coffee or buying lunch.
Those wishing to experience the life of the blind are also offered a unique version of an Italian meal, complete wine tasting, as well as team building for companies with special training – all with blind guides.
“I lost dreams I couldn’t fulfill (…). When you lose something, you go through steps of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance,” said Juli, a 33-year-old Hungarian woman who lost her sight during her university years due to a genetic disorder.
Speaking to Deutsche Welle, she stressed that losing her sight turned her life upside down and forced her to reinvent herself: cooking, walking, running, getting information, amongst much else. According to her, the hardest part of living without proper sight is the “hard brain work” this type of life requires, given the dangers of the outside world.
Juli is now one of the guides of the Invisible Exhibition where she accompanies her guests in the pitch-black rooms and helps them with getting through the obstacles.
As DW’s Chase Winter writes, the tour looks like it was so much fun at first, however, at some point, visitors come to realise that the “game” they are playing is indeed the “harsh reality” blind people face each and every day. One striking example is the blind Italian meal, which instead of being a pleasant culinary experience, drive people into losing their appetite and make the process of eating an almost never-ending struggle.
For all those interested, the Invisible Exhibition is current;y available three emerging European capitals – Budapest, Prague and Warsaw – in a variety of languages.
Photo: Invisible Exhibition Budapest