Concert with blindfold

This evening I went with two friends to see a music concert. One notable detail: The entire audience was asked to wear blindfolds.

The music itself was a form of Musique concrète. All of the sounds were sampled from real life, and from those samples the composer/performer wove around us a landscape of ever shifting sounds (which actually emerged from speakers placed around the room).

As I listened, my mind kept drifting from one thought to another. Sometimes I felt myself wandering freely, and at other times the literalness of the individual sounds pulled me right back.

I had gone there with two other people. One of them reported that she had found herself floating to distant worlds. I think for her the experience was a kind of spiritual journey.

My other companion, who is blind, said that to him it just sounded like objects. He found it interesting, but he didn’t feel transported at all.

I guess that makes sense. If your experience of everyday life is dominated by the sounds of things around you, then those sounds will not seem distinct from reality. Rather, they would remind you of that reality.

Perhaps a rough analogy would be telling a sighted person that you are inviting them to a magical experience. Then when they got there, you tell them: “Look, here is a table, and this thing next to it is a chair. And that object over by the wall, that is a kitchen sink. Go ahead, try it. Isn’t it amazing?”

And yes, maybe it would be if you weren’t already seeing tables and chairs and kitchen sinks in your everyday life.

3 thoughts on “Concert with blindfold”

  1. This ties nicely back to your discussion with Steve Feiner.
    Alan and I were emailing back and forth about how to communicate about what AR will really be like someday.

    I replied to him: “As you said, we need to transcend “I’ll see it when I believe it”.
    Describe the color of the sky to a man who has been blind his entire life. The first problem is to convince him there is even a sky.”

  2. Alan replied: “… language is primarily for things we already know about via other means …”

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