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Berco Wilsenach

Artist 154

Berco Wilsenach

The Blind Astronomer

Installation Art

Berco Wilsenach (Born 1974) is a South Africa fine artist renowned for large scale interactive installations.

Wilsenach mentions in his own words, “The concept for the work arose from an obvious and almost superficial connection between Braille and star charts: each uses a coding system of dots to convey information. From this seeming visual resemblance, I came up with the idea of a blind astronomer.

Themes about the priority we give to sight and how language is a medium for conveying information arose, and I started exploring overthrowing and questioning existing conventions.

The use of star charts in the project also forced me to study the existing conventions of cartography. These conventions are themselves a frame of reference that we as humans have created to understand nature, but not nature itself. “

The focus of today is the Blind Astronomer. It’s divided in three spaces.

The first space contains glass panels create the spatial effect of infinity; the stars in the sky appear to float in the darkness.

The second space is an accurate star atlas for the blind as well as a “star table”. It involves two interactive tables with glass panels depicting different parts of the night sky, which can be manipulated by the viewer.

In the last space, the focus shifts to be about the conventional representation of the universe. The works are in stone and glass.

Wilsenach describes the project as one that relies to a large extent on the synaesthetic exchange of senses.

“You must feel to see to understand. Hopefully this will inspire people to start looking (and touching) again… Even if it is only for a short while.” - Berco Wilsenach

Sources Consulted:…/the-blind-astronomer-by-berco-wi…


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