Tactile Mind: Porn For the Blind

March 23, 2014
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For most of us with five functioning senses, it’s not uncommon to take them for granted. Sometimes one of our senses fails us, even if it’s just for a day or two, and our world just crumbles; maybe we’re sick and can’t taste anything; or we can’t hear properly after an adjacent explosion; whatever the reason, we suddenly feel helpless without our missing sense, and start thinking what our life would be like if we lost it permanently.

Being blind might be the handicap I’d be most scared of. It’s overwhelming to think of the many things I’d miss; from my autonomy, to the faces of my loved ones, to beautiful landscapes, to… oh, shit, porn. There would be no more porn. I mean, sure, there can be sex (hopefully, anyway,) but how about those times on my own when my ADHD-damaged imagination can’t get me where I want to be? How would my Internet time distribution change? Is there even a way of getting that satisfaction if I’m blind?

Porn For the Blind

Canadian photographer Lisa Murphy surely wondered about that, too, and after looking around exhaustively, she realized there were no nude books out there for the blind. In a society where everything is so heavily sexualized, a lot of the people who can’t see are likely very alienated from a big part of today’s culture. It truly must suck to be left out of the whole experience, so Murphy took it upon herself to create a new kind of pornography, with tactile images, so that blind people can literally feel their way over these nude recreations. In other words: Braille porn!

The book is entitled Tactile Mind, and it was created by sculpting raised 3-D images on white thermoform plastic pages, the same material used for Braille, and each one includes an accompanying Braille description to really get a feel for it.

Using the same technique, she also developed Tactile Atellier Bookmark, another set of photographs that feature women in lingerie. She took pictures of her friends in lingerie, blew up the images and hand-sculpted them into clay. Then she made the thermoform copies one by one at home.

Before focusing on adult imagery, Murphy had been producing picture books for visually-impaired children at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and has found both sighted and blind people very receptive to her work.

For more information about Lisa Murphy, her book, photographs and future projects, you can visit her website.

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