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Ilan Manouach
Ilan Manouach

Artist Creates a Tactile Comic Book For Blind Readers

Ilan Manouach
Ilan Manouach

When it comes to translating books with pictures, braille alone won’t do the job. One way around this is by replacing images with 3D shapes readers can feel. Comic book artist Ilan Manouach took this concept one step further by creating his own tactile language to convey feelings as well as objects, Fast Co.Design reports.

Manouach’s new medium, dubbed Shapereader, uses tactile glyphs called "tactigrams" designed to feel reminiscent of whatever it is they represent. Anxiety is written out as block of jagged zig-zags, and “to observe” is a pattern of star shapes spread out against a blank background. The dialogue is printed in standard braille, and readers can refer to a braille index in the book to determine the meanings of each pattern.

Manouach was inspired to create a graphic novel for the blind after spending time alone in the northernmost region of Finland, called Lapland. He told Fast Co.Design, "My whole visual landscape [there] consisted of layers of dense snow imprinted by different animal traces, leftovers of a frenetic night activity.” His first Shapereader piece Arctic Circle reflects this visceral experience. “Walrus” (a chunky pattern of broken-up boxes), “arctic moss” (flowy fan shapes) and “snow goggles” (thin, vertical lines) are just a few of the more than 200 tactigrams Manouach created specifically for the story.

Shapereader isn’t yet available to a wide audience—the only way to check out Arctic Circle for now will be to see it on display at Seattle’s Washington University in September. But Manouach is working hard to spread word of his invention. Throughout the next year he plans to get people excited about Shapereader through a series of workshops, conferences, and exhibitions.

[h/t Fast Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Ilan Manouach.

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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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