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Topic: Blind Advantage
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jun 25, 2013 06:30AM)
Pakar’s invitation/calling for Mentalists around the world to participate in a Blindfold Walk may well prompt some performers to consider performing a stage demonstration based on either “lack of vision” or “ethnic” themes.

This is good …

I have used both themes in Mentalism type demonstrations and also worked extensively with persons with disabilities of all types. My wife of many years is severely “vision impaired” with many abilities others consider “paranormal.” I am offering some thoughts that could influence the scripting or presentation of an effect based on “not using vision.”

• “blind” does not mean “unable to see,” only that vision is impaired or restricted in some way. The use of a Blindfold does not make one blind – only shuts off normal visual input.

• the use or reference to any disability may come across in poor taste. Pretending to “be disabled” may even be perceived as insulting.

• the word “handicap” is definitely insulting to visually impaired people and socially incorrect. While many consider it to be synonymous with “legally disabled” its origin suggests the term be avoided.

• it seems generally accepted that those with visual impairment (NOT ‘blind people’) have heightened awareness in other ways – some considered paranormal. This does not translate into claiming, “because I have restricted my vision I now have other abilities.” However, suggesting that everyone has innate abilities sublimated because of a reliance on vision can work.

The key is to consider how your audience will relate to such a presentation and the words you use – not what you personally feel. Most people fear being blind over other types of physical limitations and generally disrespect those with vision impairment in many ways. As one pretending to have “other than normal” abilities a Mentalist should set an example as to “being aware” of people’s prejudices and misconceptions.

an example: you perform a Demonstration with three Volunteers on stage. There is a single object on the table, perhaps an apple. With you back turned one of these Volunteers hides the apple behind their back while the other two just hold their hands behind their backs. You now face them and reveal which hold the apple.

a) if you have full vision this would be easy for many accomplished Mentalist. Many non-verbal cues would indicate which person conceals the apple, though some verbal conditioning may be required as, “The one with the apple should think ‘apple,apple’ while the others should mentally repeat ‘no, no, no.”

b) you Blindfold yourself and attempt the demonstration. More difficult but not impossible. Trickery can be employed, of course, or more subtle methods. Would this be more entertaining or less?

Regardless, you should not represent this as “pretending to be blind.” A person actually empowered with sever blindness could pick out the apple holder every time without using any of the methods commonly employed by Mentalists. and, the audience would know or believe this from personal experience. Neither is their ability considered to be paranormal.

So, “pretending to be blind” is a poor approach to a performance, while “I will not look” can work effectively. Alternately, a person who has an actual visual impairment might be able to present a powerful demonstration that you cannot. In a similar vein I have created some conjury effects for magicians with only one hand. They are very powerful since the audience finds the result “more impossible” and of “greater astonishment.” If a two-handed magician present these Effects by pretending have only one hand (tied behind my back) they fall flat and are considered to be a “trick” rather than anything magical.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Jun 25, 2013 09:34AM)
Thank you funsway. :)

That was enlightening.

Really was...

Please, in the course of getting our blindfold walk accomplished, if you see anyone doing anything that might be deemed inappropriate or insensitive by the visually impaired community, feel free to pm me.

We are all continously learning on this journey.

Thank you once again. :)