Conversations in the Dark, 2018
(image credit - Conrad Bakker)
As a graduate student part of my curriculum requires me to present work and then engage in a discussion of the work. This format works well except for when you have profound hearing loss, as I do. Talking to a group of people larger than 3 or 4 is actually almost impossible for me . So I decided to to use a few methods that controlled our conversation, which allowed me to fully hear and engage. Participants were asked to enter a blacked out room and they were given flashlights. If they wanted to participate in the conversation they needed to turn their flashlight on and point it at their mouth. This allowed me to find and approach who was speaking so that I could read their lips. The critical discussion of the work became the work itself. Some of the things that are important to me : challenging normative design that excludes individuals with non normative make up; observing and learning from participants about communication; blurring the lines between public and private, intimate and non intimate; challenging normative social hierarchies within institutional spaces.