Beyond Seeing Exhibition in Paris : Day 1

Hi, everyone, how are you?

As I wrote it on my social networks, I went to Paris for a few days to visit the Beyond Seeing exhibition, which is the conclusion of the project launched by the Goethe Institute in Paris. Reminder : the aim of this project was to create things without seeing. Can we design clothes or objects without seeing anything ? What about our identity when we have never ever seen or when we loose sight ?

After a bus/train/Thalys journey, I met Sonja, a German blogger I met in Berlin last October, in Gare du Nord. We went to our hostel, the St Christopher’s Inn Canal. I found the place huge but warm and cosy. I got a room with a double bed and private shower and toilet. The Wi-fi is free and works very well.

Glimpse of my room with a double bed

One of the external façades of the hostel

After a few free time, we met and went together to the exhibition. It took place at the WIP Villette, a few hundred meters away from the hostel. From the outside, the place is not amazing, but the inside is made of stone, wood and metal, and it is gorgeous. Let’s have a quick tour of the exhibition’s content : in the main space, four mini collections of clothes are shown, each isolated by a sort of transparent curtain. In another little room, there were clothes that I will talk about in another post and some strange objects that are difficult to describe. In the last room, downstairs, there was a collection named “the sound of shoes”. When going upstairs, on the mezzanine, we could admire pictures of the different Beyond Seeing workshops and watch a documentary on the very same topic.

View on a clothing collection

A rod full of very particular clothes

Some pictures that could be seen on the mezzanine

I kind of fell in love with some clothes, especially those from the Cinderella-themed collection. The designer simply listened to the story and, inspired by the atmosphere, she created her clothes, blindfolded. It is surprising to realize how much the three results are different from each other. She used thick and soft fabrics like velvet. All the clothes are made of very dark colors. A strapless dress particularly caught my attention.

The three Cinderella dresses

I had a conversation with two designers, Verena Kuen and Maximiliane Tilch. Verana got inspired by the dream made by a person who got blind a few years ago. As she could see during a certain part of her life, she could dream with images and often saw a tree. Half of it was living, full of fruits and flower. The other half was dead, like hit by thunder. The tree was still fascinating and beautiful, even if it was “disabled”. The same is for a person who gets disabled. Verena chose silk to represent beauty, light and grace, and silicon for it’s weight, thickness and coldness. She started with white fabrics and then “printed” the colors randomly and intuitively, like splashes of colors. Maximiliane chose to work on her perception of space. Blindfolded, she explored her grandma’s living room, then a friend’s. She spent some time in a crowded place and in a tent, in the middle of a forest. The fabrics, layers or shapes she selected for each piece of her collection allow us to guess which piece is inspired by which environment.

Tent-themed design by Maximiliane Tilch

Clothing designed by Verena Kuen

I have been able to touch everything I wanted, walk freely in the different rooms, ask any question I had in my mind. Later that night, we watched a strange dancing performance. The artists walked and crawled very slowly in the room, touched the participants, got undressed and dressed back up. I admit that I found it a bit uncomfortable but, at the same time, it was hard not to look.

We finally walked back to the hostel for a good night of sleep.

To be continued in the next post… 

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  1. […] can find the first part of my stay in Paris right here, if you want. I f I have to sum up the morning of the 19th January, I would just say […]

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