The image is actually both braille and wallpaper. Simply named “Braille wallpaper,” from designer Ilias Fotopoulos, it is part of the Braille Project, which aims to collaborate with culturally diverse and visually impaired artists and writers to publish their work in braille as 3-dimensional, readable wallpaper using a varity of 3-dimensional media.
But that’s just the project’s physical properties. The project’s deeper meaning is to question notions of decoration, publishing, accessibility of design and interaction of the observer through the universal language of 3-dimensional braille. The project itself questions “is design really accessible to all?”
As Fotopoulos explains:
From an artist’s stand point, the project also examines the process of design itself. Normally, the artist controls the content of their art; they control the design, the effect, the properties, their interaction with space and form and the elements around the piece. In the Braille wallpaper, the braille is an entity unto itself; it breathes a life of its own through which the only control the artist actually has is the coloration of the dots themselves. Apart from that, there can be no other manipulation. So, like the pattern the braille constructs in telling the story or not, it really is of no control by the artist. Essentially, the designer and observer may like the story but hate the pattern, or may even like the pattern but dislike the story.
It will examine design accessibility through role reversal — a visually impaired person will be able to touch the wallpaper and read the story where as sighted observers will remain observers of a tactile pattern that they will touch and feel through its 3 dimensionality. It will be sighted people who are excluded from the language of the design created — a role they are usually unaccustomed to and which visually impaired people must deal with on a daily basis. [Source]
Fotopoulos has an unerring hope that the project will “raise the profile of visual impairment and of visually impaired people as members of society, as artists, writers, musicians etc. And to ultimately create a system of mass produced braille signage and labelling for store fonts, supermarkets and the like.”
And, in case you were wondering, the Braille wallpaper does actually tell a story; it is “Listen and Record” by writer Juro Osawa.You can read the short story here.
Fotopoulos is currently holding a competition for the next story to be published in his Braille wallpaper. Those interested in entering the compeition may submit their story in the form provided here. There is a 300-word limit, but the story may be as short as one word.