As a person with high myopia due to genetic factors, I live with one more unique perspective. With uncorrected visual acuity of -15 & -16 in each eye, and corrected vision of -2 & -3, my world is deeply intertwined with the realm of blurred edges and hazy forms. My doctor warned me of the 60-70% risk of retinal detachment tied to my high myopia, a looming prospect that often leaves me in fear of suddenly losing my vision.
My first foray into creation around this theme started in 2017 with three simple social experiments. I chose to blindfold myself, standing by the roadside, relying on the kindness and guidance of passersby to lead me to a random destination over the course of 12 hours. While many people guided me with patience and care, some led me to precarious situations, such as the edge of a dangerous lake.
When I relocated to Chicago in 2021, I was drawn once again to this theme. I noticed that many intersections in the city were not straight, posing additional challenges for those with impaired vision. Observing my blind neighbor struggle to navigate these intersections—often ending up in the middle of the street—made me realize the everyday challenges faced by individuals with visual impairment.
As I noted the lack of paved blind lanes in many U.S. cities—a stark contrast to the ubiquity of these lanes in Asia, where ironically, they are often blocked by vehicles—I felt compelled to create art that could be experienced beyond the realm of sight.
With a mission to make art accessible for visually impaired individuals, I'm currently developing a sensing device that mimics the tactile sensitivity of cat whiskers. It can be attached to clothing and used to measure safe distances for those with low vision. This device seeks not only to challenge the traditional boundaries of visual art but also to provide a practical tool that enhances the daily navigation of individuals with visual impairment. Through my work, I aim to shed light on the experiences of those living with low vision and to stimulate a dialogue about the importance of inclusivity in art and design.