Student Jay Carlyle recent shared a fascinating project he completed, incorporating photography as well as something that will be familiar to many students – the Braille wall in the entrance to the 1010 Westwood Center.
Check out Jay’s project below, as well as an explanation of his inspiration and process.
“A friend of mine (a real life individual, a CSUN student, who is in the composite, with permission), is deaf-blind, with low vision, and has had a Cochlear implant for most of his life. I talked with him about my photography and the projects I was doing here at Extension. The whole vision of it all sort of came to me spontaneously; I was taking a set of courses that quarter, including one with Michael Powers. I think I mentioned in passing my concept and Powers had encouraged me as well.
For various years and times, having attended a variety of courses at 1010 Westwood, I passed by the plexiglass installation which to most just appears as an architectural part of the stairwell near the entrance of the building. But, upon closer examination, it is in fact in Braille.
It is untitled, and a complete Google and otherwise mystery to me as to who created, authorized, the whole installation process for 1010 and for UCLA Extension. My friend, though Braille is not his primary method of visual-like communication (a CCTV enlarger, Computer Assistive technology, and other magnifications are), can read some Braille.
The 10-15 ft fall installation there appears to be in both simple and complex Braille, and I had him read some of it, which appears to make some references possibly to the Greeks and such, and learning, and mathematics. The whole statement, I do not know.
I photographed him there, as well as shots of him signing and other photographic elements and blended it all into an idea of what was a fantasy composite for class, but as well, a cover jacket for an actual autobiography that I am aware of, he may finish writing at some point.
With the exception of the feather, the brain image scan, and some freely available braille and finger-sign fonts, the entire work used personally photographed elements and created artwork.
As Powers has noted of myself, I have a documentary style of photography, and that is perhaps the inspiration for the project, as well as just personal beliefs about helping, and depicting in a good light, those who are marginalized in society. I have had some interaction with the deaf community before personally, but only more recently became aware of someone who was deaf-blind (as Helen Keller was and other noted individuals).”