The Braille Project

Listen and record, a story by Juro Osawa — is the first story in the Braille Project that has been created into Braille wallpaper by Ilias Fotopoulos.

The project aims to collaborate with culturally diverse and visually impaired writers and artists to publish their work in this new format as 3 dimensional, readable wallpaper (and in the long term textiles) using a variety of 3 dimensional media.

The Braille project aims to: question notions of decoration, publishing, accessibility of design and interaction of the observer through the universal language of 3 dimensional braille.

As designers, do we really address important issues or are we decorators, players of pattern and colour? What can we do to give at least some out of work purpose?

The project asks: is design really accessible to all?

It will examine design accessibility through role reversal — a visually impaired person will be able to touch the wallpaper and read the story where as sighted observers will remain observers of a tactile pattern that they will touch and feel through its 3 dimensionality. It will be sighted people who are excluded from the language of the design created — a role they are usually unaccustomed to and which visually impaired people must deal with on a daily basis.

The project also examines process of design: normally a controlled process, in this instance, the braille takes on a form of its own: It cannot be manipulated, apart from colouration. the designer and observer may like the story, dislike the pattern or the opposite. The designer relinquishes control of end result and the finished piece contains an inherent duality.

The long term goal is to raise the profile of visual impairment and of visually impaired people as members of society, as artists, writers, musicians etc. And to ultimately create a system of mass produced braille signage and labelling for store fonts, supermarkets and the linke. We have alot of work to do!

The Braille project was launched in Tokyo at 100% Design Tokyo (November 2007) and in Europe at 100% Design London (September 2008). Listen and record wallpaper in Braille was acquired (January 2010) by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in New York to be park of its permanent collection.

Supported by The Australia Council for the Arts.

Download Ilias' interview on FBI Radio Arts program about the Braille Project
Read 'Listen and Record'

The Braille Project 2

In its second year, entries are now open for the Braille Project part 2. The project aims to raise awareness and publish work of visually impaired and culturally diverse artists/writers in the form of 3 dimensional, useable wallcoverings that tell a story. The Braille Project is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Submit your story in the form below. There is a 300 word limit but your story may be as short as one word.

Your entry

By entering the Braille project, you acknowledge that you have read and accept the Terms and information below:

  1. The story does not need to be about visual impairment. It may be a work of fiction (a short story or poem but, must be your work), or autobiographical.
  2. The author needs to have experience with and/or a connection to someone with visual impairment and/or culturally diverse or be visually impaired.
  3. Ilias Fotopoulos reserves the right to choose the production method of the Braille story selected for “the Braille project”, this includes but is not limited to colouration, layout, incorporation of graphics and or imagery.
  4. By entering the Braille story you agree to your story, whether selected as the winner or not, to be be placed on if so decided by Ilias Fotopoulos. In this case you will be given credit as the author.
  5. All entrants give permission to Ilias Fotopoulos and the owners of ilias wallpaper and/or the Australia council to use the story in all marketing material which comprises the braille project as decided by Ilias Fotopoulos.
  6. The authors of stories consents to their name being printed on the wallpaper.
  7. You consent to the media and/or members of parliament being given information which you have supplied in this application if requested and necessary.
  8. The statements made by the applicant are true and the story is the applicant’s own work.