Being Blind for a Day – Dialogue in the Dark

2018-06-20 | By Orcam Staff

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Being Blind for a Day - Dialogue in the Dark - OrCam

Seeing is believing, but experiencing truly allows for understanding. It’s one thing to have someone explain visual impairment to you or to see a picture of what someone who is partially sighted sees. It’s another thing to experience it. Seeing the world from a different perspective can be truly life-changing, and this exhibition is just that. Life-changing.


It began with Dr. Andreas Heinecke in 1988. He was asked to create a work training for a blind journalist, but he did not understand how life without eyesight could have significance. This encounter changed his life. He made a decision to continue working to benefit those who are disabled. He came up with the idea for an event in which people who are blind and people who are sighted meet in a dark room, putting everyone on level-footing. The first exhibit opened in 1989 and the rest is history.

Dialogue in the Dark

Imagine spending one and a half hours walking around, walking through different rooms, smelling, feeling, hearing all different things, all the while being unable to see. You do not have to imagine this, as this experience exists in 36 locations across the world, in 21 countries, across 5 continents. This includes North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.


It opens one’s eyes to the darkness of being blind. You learn how different it is to have to depend on one’s other senses to get around. Activities range from exploring a park and market to ordering from a cafe. This experience allows one to overcome prejudices and stereotypes, to truly put yourself in someone else’s shoes.


You’ll be surprised at how quickly this experience begins, as you walk immediately into complete darkness, using the walls and the sound of your guide’s voice for direction. You walk through a market, where you can pick up and smell the fruit. Boarding a ship, you can hear the sound of the seagulls and the ocean. You arrive at a cafe, where the cashier is actually blind and where you can actually order a drink or snack. Only coins are accepted though, as there is no way to differentiate bills in the darkness.


Museums can be quite fascinating and awe-inspiring. However, there is no museum experience quite like this one. It has received international acclaim, winning many awards such as 1998’s Stevie Wonder Vision Award, 2004’s Best Practice in Universal Design, 2011’s Deutscher Grunderpreis, 2017’s Mariano Gago Ecsite Sustainable Success Award, and more.


Here are but a few of the many people to have had their eyes opened, in a manner of speaking, by this exhibit:


Have you ever been to this exhibit? What was the experience like for you? All of us at OrCam encourage everyone to visit this exhibition, as it is truly life-changing. Sound off in the comments down below.