Everything around you has been covered by darkness. You neither have a flashlight nor any source of light that can make the place brighter. All you have is your four senses except eye sight. This is what the exhibition that I will introduce is all about; experiencing blindness. We can easily get scared in the dark and cannot stay there even for a short while.
That is because people largely depend on their sight for perception. So when our sight is gone, we panic. I, as an ordinary person, was so frightened to experience this exhibition. However, after I spent time in the ‘Dialogue in the Dark,’ there was so much more than just experiencing blindness. Why don’t you follow my journey into the dark and “see” what I saw?
The journey begins when you pass through the heavy curtain behind the entrance gate. Staffs will tell you to drop off anything that produces light, such as cell phone. This is to maximize the darkness inside the exhibition. After you are ready to go, they will tell you about the ‘Road Master.’ The Road Master is someone who will escort you through the show so that you can successfully finish. Since the place for the display is unfamiliar, I recommend that you go with a friend. Although the Road Master will chat with you to reduce the tension in your mind, it would be more comfortable when you are with someone you know.
It is literally dark in the exhibition. There is no difference between whether I opened my eyes or not. Initially, you will have trouble adjusting, and you may hear an unknown voice from the Road Master. She will tell you what we are going to do in the exhibition; sensing the stuff we often see without seeing.
Some people hesitate to visit the ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ because they might get lost. Without the light, even I could not see where I am going. However, you will notice in the exhibition that there is no way to get lost even when it is so dark inside. Whenever you take a wrong direction, the guide will lead you the right way. Needless to say, I assumed that our guide was wearing infrared glasses so that she could see me in the dark. This made me a little embarrassed because my behavior must have been hilarious.
At the end of the exhibition, I asked her if she was wearing special glasses to guide and lead visitors. The answer I heard was astonishing. The Road Master was not using the equipment to see in the dark. They could not “see” just like me. They memorized the path to lead visitors through their journey. Nevertheless, there were unanswered question in my mind. You cannot tell where people are going by remembering the path.
Conducting people is impossible unless they can see. But our guide said that she was very sensitive to the movement around her because she is blind. Since she cannot see through her eyes, she had to strengthen other senses, and that was why she could perceive my movements in the dark. All the other guides were in same situation. To quote what my escort said, “In the outside with the light, we are the one who are being lead and helped.” However, in the dark, they are the ones to lead the people who has guided them outside. She said this was so meaningful because she can give back what she has received.
When I reached the floor where the ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ was held, I could not find where to get my ticket, but a group of people wearing black shirts. While asking a question to one of them, I found something was different with these individuals. They had extraordinary eyes and that scared me. So I left them when she pointed me in the right direction. I assumed those people were here for the experience as well.
However, after speaking with my guide, I could associate her with the individuals with the extraordinary eyes. I was able to meet the exhibition tour guides who were preparing to go inside because I arrived for exhibition a little earlier than their first show. I felt bad and I blamed myself for judging these people only by their appearance. Because of what I saw before the show, this ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ was more meaningful to me. I was shocked at how much I was depending on my sense of sight to judge people.
Now I saw what I could not have realized previously; a raised block for the blind and an alarm for traffic light changes at the crosswalk. I remember how I relied on this to step ahead during the exhibition. Although I cannot change the lifestyle that I have been accustomed to for a couple of decades, I feel that I am making my movements differently. Furthermore, ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ was a great exhibition with much learning and enlightenment for me. I would recommend this experience to anyone as it ‘opened my eyes’ to a greater understanding of the world around me!