kestrell: (Default)
Cross-posted to the Arisia LJ

This year we will once again be having the tactile tour of the Arisia art show. While the precise day and time has not yet been scheduled, we already have our volunteer docent and we are arranging to provide cotton gloves for the participants.

If you are an artist who wishes her or his art to be experienced by those with vision or other sensory impairments during the tactile art show, there should be a checkbox on the Arisia art show entry form which allows you to communicate this to the organizers. Only art which has been expressly allowed to be touched will be included in the tactile art tour. Artists are also encouraged to be present during the tour, and may give a very short explanation of their work if they so desire (a couple of sentences works well with our time limitation).

This tour usually lasts an hour, sometimes a little over an hour. People without sensory impairments are very welcome to attend the tour but, since the size of the group has to be limited in order to move through the show, priority is given to people with disabilities.
kestrell: (Default)
These are five minute long Ted Talk-type presentations or performances. I was asked to do one on the topic of "Pimp My Gimp," or decorating/designing your prosthetics.
kestrell: (Default)
Alexx and I went to Arisia on Saturday and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new hotel really does solve a lot of the issues I had with way too many people in a too-small space. One of the events which I had come especially to hear was the concert by Sassafrass
a female a capella group which specializes in music featuring Norse myths and other geeky subjects. You can
listen to song samples
and I absolutely recommend their Odin-Loki song, "My Brother, My Enemy," along with my personal favorite, "Toys for Big Kids."
I also had the chance to talk to lots of cool people, including Steve Berman (LJ user mroctober) writer and editor of Leithe Press and
LJ user vvalkyri, who recently sent me a couple of
links about a fully articulated prosthetic hand
developed with a material called Living Skin at Touch Bionics .

The tactile tour of the art show was wonderful, thanks in large part to Fabrisse, who was our docent again this year, and who always makes a point of doing some research ahead of time so that she can tell us details about the works which we are touching, such as the medium and comments by the artists.
There were many wonderful pieces in the art show, but my favorite works were
the glass made to look like an actual meteorite, created by the artist guest of honor, Josh Simpson
the book made with a glass eye in the front cover, the long dragon carved from a sinuous tree branch (I love carved objects that use the natural shape of the wood to influence the carved form), and the completely amazing coyote mask by Carol Hanson (who also took time to talk to me about wire). Also, an extra thanks to the artist who made a tactile drawing of the corset she had made--I am awed that she took eight hours to create the tactile drawing itself.

In the Dealers Room I bought a tactile t-shirt with an embossed Celtic design of the tree of life. This is an absolutely amazing t-shirt which uses some sort of mystery material that I am guessing must work similar to puff paint--the Celtic design of the tree, which appears to be made from one long continuous line, was laid down on a sort of stiff buckram-type material which was then laid beneath the t-shirt material, so that when the design material was activated (probably by a heat source such as a hair dryer), the design puffed up behind the t-shirt material on the front of the shirt.
You can find this and other tactile t-shirts and hoodies at the Earth Wisdom Web page, look for t-shirts labeled with the word "embossed"
and there are also some t-shirts which used embroidered designs.

Sadly, my attempt to find a copy of Diana Wynne Jones _The Merlin Conspiracy_ failed, so I will have to get it from Amazon.
kestrell: (Default)
Kes: This was a really fabulous event last year--Fabrisse did an amazing job describing things and the artists present were wonderful. I am hoping to show up to this specific event and this event only--if anyone is interested in getting together for dinner afterward, leave a comment.

The tactile tour will be conducted on
Saturday from 5-6 p.m.
We will meett in front of the art show and cotton gloves will be provided for attendees. Artists are invited to be present in order to give brief descriptions of their work and answer questions.
Note: the non-visually impaired are welcome to participate in this event but people with disabilities will be given priority if the size of the group becomes an issue.
kestrell: (Default)
I had this idea for creating a tactile art workshop for Arisia, and I am trying to find a couple of people, preferably with some experience in leading intro-level art workshops, to help plan the event.

My thought was that plenty of the qart and crafts we got to experience in the tactile art tour of the Arisia art show are suited to people with impairments, so maybe we could provide a few basic materials and then have a few artists give some basic instruction.

Potential tactile crafts: beading, simple weaving (bracelets, necklaces, etc.), collage with tactile materials (fabric scraps, sand, found objects), clay pots, polymer clay decorations (perhaps with cookie cutters?).

Any thoughts, suggestions, resources, and especially, volunteers, would be appreciated. Also, if anyone has links to actual information on planning something like this, that would be great.
kestrell: (Default)
Books I mentioned during the prosthetics panel:
The Body Has a Mind of Its Own (2007) by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee
Natural-Born Cyborgs (2003) by Andy Clark
and I didn't get a chance to mention
How We Became Posthuman by N. Katherine Hayles (1999)
which specifically looks at images of the posthuman in SF or,
The Open Prosthetics Project Wiki
"Prosthetics shouldn't cost an arm and a leg."

Science fiction works featuring disability and prosthetics
Waldo, INc. by Robert Heinlein
plus here's a random DIY for making your own Waldos

Rainbowz End by Vernor Vinge (2007)
Blindsight by Peter Watts (2007)
and I didn't even get to mention my favorite instance of wearable computing
"Is There in Truth No Beauty?" Star Trek original series
which I discuss in my thesis
or check out my memoir
Part 1
part 2
which was published inThe Inner History of Devices edited by Sherry Turkle

Here are links for those interested in
the ongoing
of Kestrell's
psst! passit on until everybody knows.


Jan. 14th, 2010 04:36 pm
kestrell: (Default)
I had a list of things I wanted to do to get ready for Arisia this weekend but after coming home from my doctor visit this morning, my body decided it just wanted to nap. I'm hoping that this is its idea of planning ahead.

My GP recommended that, in order to help boost my immune system, I try taking Vitamin D and some Omega-3 in the form of flax seed oil capsules, so I am going to be doing that in hopes of not getting sick again before the surgery.

I'm also a little worried about LJ user selkiechick who found more things to transcribe into braille, like the souvenir book which I really appreciate but am worried that by the end fot he weekend she willhave found a way to turn the entire Con Com into tactile braille or something similar. There are these nifty braille talking tablets which not only offer the braille interface but pre-recorded sound bites that are activated when you touch certain locations on the braille pictures. Yes, that would be the interface to choose...
kestrell: (Default)
My eye surgery has been scheduled for Wed. Jan. 27. I'll be having the silicone implant and transplanted sclera removed, and once healed, will be getting a larger, orbital prosthetic for my right eye.

Also note that I'm listed as Alicia Verlager in the Arisia program.

Sat. Noon-1 Accessible tour of the Art Show
We meet at the art show for descriptions andopportunities to touch some of the art.

Saturday, 3PM
[168] Women Writers in Horror
Arisia schedule below cut )
kestrell: (Default)
So I havethis bad cold with a painful cough and, for some reason, insomnia that defies even sleeping pills, which doesn't make me any happier. I have an entire cookie tin full of various prescription and over-the-counter drugs and bags of cough drops, along with a collection of Alan Moore CDs (there's a reason for that).

My voice keeps going in and out but I've ordered more of the magic pralines .

So, although I am hoping to be well enough to go to Arisia, I expect I will be pretty low energy, so I'm trying to find a ride to get to the hotel on Friday around noonish. I realize that getting to Cambridge by way of Dorchester is not exactly intuitive, but I would be willing to chip in with gas money if someone would be willing to give me a ride to the con.
kestrell: (Default)
1. The New England Folk Festival has offered Arisia the loan of two hearing-
assistance transmitter/receiver sets, which will be made available to attendees on a first come, first served basis.
However, if people have their own FM receivers, they can bring those and they'll be
able to pick up the transmission.
We are working on a list of panels and GOH events at which these transmitters might be of the most use, but if attendees have specific requests, please feel free to send them to and we will do our best to make it happen.
Note: the transmitters can only be set up in rooms with augmented sound (microphones, amplification, etc.).

2. We are also working on offering an accessible tour of the art show, including providing description and the ability to touch the art. Arisia will be providing cotton gloves for anyone attending this event, and we'll have more details closer to con. If possible, it would be great to get an approximation of how many people would be interested in attending this tour so that we can provide enough gloves. You can e-mail us at .

Also, I wanted to thank all the artists who graciously agreed to participate in this event: thank you!


kestrell: (Default)

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