Visiting with the senses

By Limor Shiponi

Two days ago I visited ‘Dialogue in the dark‘ and ‘Invitation to silence‘ at the children’s museum in Holon. Lead through total darkness by a blind guide, lead through silence and non-verbal communication by a deaf guide – it was a powerful experience.

I was checking the possibility of using these experiences to facilitate a better understanding of what it feels like when receiving bad service – wishing people will understand what you need, listen to you, help you through the maze.

This reminded me that quite a few years ago I decided to try and live without my senses – one sense less per day – and see what I can learn from it for my storytelling. I’ve learned a lot. It’s a ‘must try’ experience.

This time I’ve noticed that the blind guy was superb with placing objects and impressions in space, creating a full picture you can return to in your imagination; the deaf guy is a master in keeping eye-contact and constantly reading non-verbal signs. Both these qualities are obligatory skills for storytellers. Another thing I found out is that the blind’s world is very noisy. A seeing person expects silence when walking into darkness but that’s not the real case if you’re blind. You need all that noise so you can figure things out.

At the end I asked the deaf guy if he has any criticism about hearing people, besides what we know we do wrong when it comes to people with impediments. He said that we are becoming less and less approachable, not noticing the need of others for direct communication and attention and that this is becoming worse as mobile devices are spreading.

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