Shapereader is a new language composed by shapes and tactile patterns. Its main objective is to make more accessible the world of comics to blind or visually impaired people.
Can you imagine touching the vignette of a comic?
Now it’s possible with Shapereader, a repertoire of shapes and patterns designed by the multidisciplinary Greek artist Ilan Manouach (Athens, 1980). This project features the graphic novel Arctic Circle, displaying this new tactile language.
Although it’s mainly targeted to blind or visually impaired people, this graphic novel can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to experience this curious process. The only detail is to learn first the keys of this new alphabet. Installed in a dark room inside the museum, this atypical “reading” has to be understood with your hands.
210 patterns set the narration of the adventures of two climatologists in the North Pole. “Characters”, “actions” or “settings” are some of the sets where the visitants will get the information from. Relying on the tactigrams (pieces with relief), each visitant can create their own version of the story.
The only limit is your imagination.
The Finnish Kone Fundation has awarded one of its scholarships to Ilan Manouach to develop this ambitious project. To produce 2.000 books of 50 pages each, 100.000 euros have been invested, so still is a little difficult to get it to a bigger public. The most particular thing of this graphic novel is that the artist, instead of translating it to braille, created a completely original code so all users have the same knowledge about it.
Shapereader demonstrates that it does exists a different way to approach the contemporary graphic novel and turn it into a product and an experience that can be enjoyed by a bigger part of society.