Painting with Sound

Emily Beaney



This study explores the aesthetic relationship between visual and verbal perception in the arts and, in particular, how it can be translated and articulated to provide a meaningful experience for visually impaired people. A core objective seeks to evaluate an ‘inter-sensorial’ approach in translating art to other sensory forms. Reference to inter-semiotics and ekphrasis, relevant to the word/image relationship, will offer a theoretical perspective to this study. The views of artist/ writers such as Joseph Kosuth, Donald Kuspit and Derek Jarman are considered in terms of the aesthetics and the word/image relationship, particularly in conceptual art. Issues of subjectivity and objectivity emerge as an area of tension in the translation of image to word. This also has implications in approaches to audio-description which is considered through the comparisons of descriptions and discussion with audio descriptors working with galleries.  Innovative multi-sensory practices are examined through discussions with Access Officers at The Tate, The Royal Academy and The Irish Museum of Modern Art. The outcome of this research indicates that the interpretation of art through multiple senses increases both the level of engagement and understanding an art-work; an inter-sensorial approach allows the sharing of some of the artistic elements on an equal basis with sighted visitors; a more subjective approach is more likely to engage a visually impaired person on an emotional level with the art-work.

Painting with Sound (Full Text)

  • Vimeo
  • Twitter
  • Instagram