Brailliterate 文盲文
1993

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Exhibited: Xu Bing: Recent Work, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York
Materials: Mixed media installation / Braille books and book covers,.

This work, the title of which combines the words Braille and illiterate, is comprised of a reading room with a table piled with books. The covers of these books, altered by the artist, feature English titles superimposed over original Braille titles. The English titles are in fact completely different from the Braille ones, and bear no relation to the actual content of the books. Upon opening the books, a sighted member of the audience expecting to find an English text inside finds only pages printed in Braille, the content of which he/she assumes to be that indicated by the English title. Conversely, a blind audience member literate in Braille, unaware of the misleading English title printed on the book, would be unaware that sighted readers had a completely wrong impression of the book's content. The result is that the same object is interpreted by different viewers in completely different ways. Only those both in full capacity of their vision and educated in Braille would be able to comprehend the deception. In this way Brailleliterate evokes issues of cultural bias, misinterpretation and concealment.