Public Art Registry
Double Blind
Photo: Photo Technic
Double Blind - photo by Photo Technic
Double Blind - photo by Photo Technic
Double Blind - photo by Photo Technic
1120 East 7th Avenue
Vancouver Community College: Broadway Campus
Building Interior: Atrium
Private development
Mirrored acrylic domes
Site-integrated work
In place
VCC Broadway Campus Phase One Expansion Building
Description of work
Double Blind is a large-scale sculptural installation by Antonia Hirsch, commissioned for the atrium of the new Vancouver Community College’s Broadway Campus Phase One Expansion building. Spanning four stories of the building, Double Blind translates a Snellen, or eye, chart into Braille by using dome mirrors in order to emulate the raised dots of Braille script. Dome mirrors are endemic to public spaces and can be found in pedestrian underpasses, hospital corridors, and in commercial retail contexts. They are used for surveillance as well as for the prevention of collisions in pedestrian traffic flow. Public space is often highly contested since it must typically answer to the idealist demands of communal space while also satisfying the concerns for public safety that are frequently associated with control and surveillance. Like many atriums, the new Vancouver Community College’s interior public space has a panoptic tendency: emphasizing ‘insight’ into various interior spaces from specific vantage points. This panoptic tendency is echoed in the domed mirrors, each reflecting a 360° view of the surrounding space. Double Blind deliberately and emphatically utilizes elements that are commonly found in public space and re-purposes them, thereby highlighting the quality of the space itself, rather than offering a pictorial escape from its reality. Double Blind queries the interlinked ideas of seeing and controlling, acknowledging the importance of the context in which information is acquired and processed, whether that context is a scientific doctrine, social matrix, or language system. This sculptural work is accompanied by a T-shirt multiple that echoes the installation’s oxymoronic premise: those who can see the work likely don’t read braille, and those who read braille can probably not see the work. On the back of each T-shirt, an eye chart is rendered in raised letters. Though reproduced in a colour identical to that of the shirt and thereby nearly invisible, the characters are tangible. Conversely, the front of each shirt mirrors the installation’s graphic arrangement in reflective foil, yet these braille dots are entirely two-dimensional, visible, but not available through touch.
Artist statement
See 'Description of Work'.
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