“You can look but you can’t touch.” That’s one of the first rules of museums, which house priceless works of art. But what about the community of blind and visually impaired who use their sense of touch to experience the world? The Unseen Art Project is an initiative to make art more accessible and inclusive by using 3D-printing technology to create replicas of masterpieces that can be touched ’till your heart is content.
“There are many people in the world who have heard of classical artworks their whole lives but are unable to see them,” says Marc Dillon, a Helsinki-based designer who wants to make works like the Mona Lisa touchable. In order to make his vision a reality, Dillon has recently established a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. He hopes to raise enough money to create an online repository where artists can contribute 3D data of artworks and anyone with a 3D printer will be able to print it out.
With the price of 3D printers drastically coming down in recent years, Dillon’s project has the potential to “touch” a large population of people who have an interest in art but have never been able see it. As the campaign points out, “It would be a revolution to get blind people going to art galleries, people hate them because there is nothing there to touch!”