How Stimulating Is Accessible Porn for the Blind?

Nude image from “Tactile Mind”  by Lisa J. MurphyIf a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is one touchable picture worth? Tactile Mind, a handmade book consisting of 17 2-dimensional nude images is now available from Toronto photographer Lisa Murphy for $225 (CAD). You do the math.

I champion accessible books of all kinds, so I applaud this one. I bet it gets more media hype than actual sales, though. News stories tout it as “Braille porn” but the staggering price and hand-crafted construction, albeit with plastic thermoform paper and spiral binding, make it more of an art book. Each copy is numbered and signed by the artist, who volunteers at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

Like many accessible technologies, it sounds like a clever concept but economies of scale put it beyond the reach of most blind people. A thousand sexy words are cheaper.

Here’s how the story was spun by flashnews.com:

TORONTO (Wireless Flash – FlashNews) – Porn has never been so touching – especially now that there’s a Braille version for the blind.

Photographer Lisa J. Murphy has just created Tactile Mind, a book of nude images sculpted on thermoform plastic pages – the same material used in Braille paper.

All the lines, ridges, and crevices of the body parts are touchable, so the pictures can be enjoyed by the visually impaired. To fully feel the erotica, they each come with an accompanying description in Braille.

Murphy, who’s a volunteer at the Canadian National Institute For The Blind, calls the book a “labor of love.”

Each sexy image took her about 50 hours to sculpt so it would be interpreted accurately by the sightless.

Her tactile creations include a woman’s naked breasts, an uncircumcised penis and testicles, and a shaved vagina.

None of her art seems to be getting lost in translation because in her words, “Blind folks say my work is good. Wink, wink.”

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3 Responses to How Stimulating Is Accessible Porn for the Blind?

  1. Mark Willis says:

    Listen to Lisa Murphy’s interview with the BBC. Geoffrey Long, who has been blind since birth, argues for different paths to arousal. Good discussion.

    According to the Toronto Star:

    “We’re breaking new ground. Playboy has (an edition with) Braille wording, but there are no pictures.”

    She says that while we live in a culture saturated with sexual images, the blind have been “left out.”

    There are more than 836,000 Canadians living with significant vision loss, according to the CNIB. As the population ages over the coming decade, this number is expected to rise dramatically.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    The notion of touchable art reminds me of a photo I shot in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art 35 years ago. I was still shooting film then, though I was on the cusp of giving it up. I had a Pentax SLR and telephoto lens that I focused on a small boy as he climbed into the lap of a marble nude to cup her breast. Now that was tactile erotica! CLICK. It would have been the best photo I ever took had the roll of film not reached its awkward end.

  3. Hi there,
    My name is Lisa J. Murphy – I am the artist behind ‘tactile mind’: A book of nude (3-d) photographs for the blind/vision impaired.
    Thank you for writing about my work.
    I just wanted to let you know that I have never described my work as pornographic. People everywhere have added their own opinions to this work, and have let them be known…….it has been called everything; erotic, original art, fetish-orientated, pornography – and some people don’t like it at all. I just put it out as an interesting book of nude photographs for the blind/vision impaired – tactile mind is a cool book of my photographs.
    In terms of the price, I have always sold individual pages from my website. As a 1 person publishing house producing my own work, I have always tried to make it affordable to those who can’t afford the entire book. – Guess that part isn’t newsworthy.

    Thank you again.
    lisa
    http://www.tactilemindbook.com
    TACTILE MIND STUDIO LIMITED

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