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Josefa Ruiz Caballero

Seeing What We See: Experiments around Images and Blindness




03/12/2024 — 03/26/2024

How do we see what we see? What makes up an image?

Through participatory methodologies and experimental exercises on art, this LABORATORY, facilitated by Chilean teaching artist Josefa Ruiz, explores the notions of perception and records that people with low vision and blindness. It is conceived as a collaboration with participants interested in delving deeper into the topic of perception and the construction of images.

This LABORATORY fosters expansive processes from artistic education regarding creative exploration in people with low vision and blindness—and without blindness—that are interested in exploring the visual arts, taking as points of departure questions such as: “what is an image?” and “what happens with a tactile, sonorous and haptic image?” Against this background, we propose a laboratory focused on doing, on learning by doing between people with blindness, low vision, and no blindness, seeking to add to the construction of a society that knows how to share in diversity. Thus, this educational space can be seen as a place to experiment and learn artistic techniques regarding images.

Pedro Miranda: La novia loca (2010). Courtesy: Josefa Ruiz Caballero.

Therefore, we cite Dana Albicker in her essay "En defensa de la ceguera y la construcción de la visualidad" [In Defense of Blindness and the Construction of Visuality], as she explains the experience of an invisible laboratory where I was able to collaborate as a facilitator: “The research conducted in and through the laboratory uses artistic procedures to give account of experiential practices in which different subjects are involved. Crucial to these practices is the existence of collaborations between blindness, low vision and no blindness. This collaboration not only opens the possibility of interpretation and dialogues, but also augments it. It is during this process of diverse collectivity that certain ruptures are created, making it possible to navigate through approaches to concepts that are constantly being posed, such as: the expanded image, sensory images, “how to think about an image without a visual anchor?” and “what is the perspective from a place of not-seeing?” (...) synthesizing in thus way the objective that is set out, where artistic procedures give account of personal practices and of the creation of exercises that probe into the universal accessibility to them.”

"Theorizing about images outside of ocularcentrism, expanding their constructive processes to other fields of sensibility."

Josefa Ruiz Caballero


We will work with a participatory methodology centered on the act of deep listening and the co-designing of each of the work/learning sessions, where artistic references and exercises will be shared. We will use this approach in order to explore the different notions of perception that exist among the participants, emphasizing that visual diversity is also a capacity. This will give way to artistic creation in blind, low vision, or non-blind adults. It is important that we tap into the autobiographical, into the experience surrounding blindness past a medical diagnosis; that is, we are looking for the personal and political dimension held within people with blindness or low vision, and what non-blind people observe in this dimension. The end goal is to generate a dialogue among subjectivities associated with specific local or global contexts.


1st session
Introduction to the image and the eye, which is not the only organ that sees
Contents: Perception. How do we see what we see? What is an image composed of? Presentation-workshop with an exercise aimed at unlocking creativity in the observation of the mundane, working with sonorous, visual, and tactile routines. We will also have an auditory letter exercise, where we will investigate the image from different sensible materials; we will get to know the experience of each participant by exploring the sonorous through the creation of a personal auditory letter that can be enhanced collectively in future sessions.

2nd session
The visible, the invisible, and the visual
Contents: Notions of tactile images. During this session, we will experiment with tactile images, exploring how they also have a way of being read not only with the eyes. We will work with etchings that shall be made on polymeric form or other materials that are accessible to participants.

3rd session
Language and blindness
Contents: Poetic constructions of visual definitions. We will host an exercise aimed at redefining visuality through the idea of blindness. During this session, we will work with words, the definition of words, and how they are biographical experiences of each text and of each participant's context. We will read excerpts from Escrito en Braille [Written in Braille] by Alejandra del Río and Sangre en el ojo [Blood in the Eye] by Lina Meruane.

4th session
Contents: Sculpture, body, and space. We will work on an exercise regarding spatial dimensions for sculptural, photographic, and performative production. We will also experiment with materials departing from the notion of body as support. We will use clay as well.

5th session
Collective irradiations
This session will be dedicated to assembling a collective collage of what we learned and created together, with the artwork serving as glue, holding it all together. This session may also be designed through another technique if the group wishes to experiment with something specific, such as painting with light. We will discuss that in the co-designing conversation during the first session.

Exercise by Rebeca Silva in the Experimental Workshop Courtesy: Josefa Ruiz Caballero.


Audience: Adults with low vision and blindness that have an artistic practice in the visual or audiovisual fields; people without blindness interested in haptic art, audio descriptions, and the construction of images beyond the eyes.

5 sessions
Tuesdays and Thursdays
March 12, 14, 19, 21, and 26, 2024
18:00 (Chile time)
Via Zoom