Cybersight
Cybersight is a responsive artwork that uses the Internet to raise awareness about visual aspirations of the blind.

This artwork invites worldwide aesthetic collaboration in creating a databank of those images that the blind would most like to see.  These images are digitized and modified with computer graphics software to create art for the sighted while rendering them accessible to the blind through digital technologies that transform visual images into tactile experiences. Each time an image is contributed to the databank, sponsors donate funds for research to fight blindness.   

Art in cyberspace enhances life in realspace

What is responsive art?
Responsive art redefines art as active process rather than passive object.  Although art as object can express social and humanitarian values and issues, it does not act to effect change.  The artwork’s message may be deeply rooted in real world concerns yet it hangs insularly on a museum wall disengaged from the issue that defines it.  Responsive art, on the other hand, reaches out into the real world, transforming viewers into participants in the creative process and social action.

Cross-cultural Database
Blind people worldwide were asked to identify the four things they would most like to see if they had vision.  The results of this cross-cultural research on the visual aspirations of the blind are used to populate a database of images that are made available to blind people who can "see" them through a special mouse that traces the images on their fingertips.

Image Database
The cross-cultural database of responses becomes an invitation to people in all walks of life to submit images of the things the blind would like to see.  In addition, students in art schools across the globe are invited to upload photographs that they take in response to the visual aspirations of the blind. 

Fighting Blindness
Each time an image is contributed, a sponsor donates funds that supports research in laboratories worldwide. Aesthetic collaboration in cyberspace generates acts of human compassion in real space.

What are four things you would most like to see if you had vision?

The following are cross-cultural responses to this question received from blind people worldwide including countries as varied as Australia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Lebanon, Lithuania, Niger, Poland, Slovenia, St. Lucia, United Kingdom, United States, and Zambia.

Sky: blue sky, clouds, night sky, star-studded sky, thunder-lightning storm, rainbow, moon, sun, sunlight, sunrise, sunset, snowflake, planet Earth, comet, eclipse, shooting star

Landscapes: countryside, mountains, a meadow in bloom, a panoramic view of mountains and sea, jungle, trees, trees in moonlight, autumn trees, cityscape, buildings, my neighborhood, stores, castle, a bird’s eye view of the Earth, Castle, Taj Mahal, World Trade Center, Pentagon, Eiffel Tower

Water: water, sea, ocean waves, waterfalls, rivers

People: faces, human beings, myself, mother, father, children, friends, girlfriend, boyfriend, my teachers, smiling people, beautiful women, a bride in a white wedding dress, a baby crying, photos of family members, eyes, nose, ears

Media: computer graphics, print in a book, newspapers, signature, movies, television shows, video games

Sports: football game, basketball game, water skiing, car races

Animals: horse, squirrel, cat, puppy, fox, pig, giraffe, lion, whale, dolphins, snake, fish, mosquitoes, bees, birds in flight, stork, wild animals that I cannot pet, chicks following a hen, dinosaur

Vehicles: spaceship, airplane, group of airplanes at airport, helicopter, hot-air balloon, automobile, roads, traffic, ambulance, school bus, tractor, lawn mower, boat, ship, anchor, ship’s steering wheel, spaceship, tank, elevator

Others: shadows, light, colors, window, mirror, flowers, food, lemon, sugar, chocolate, money, keyboard, compass, upholstered chair, trance music, gold, toys, idols of god, Koran, planting rice, rice fields, clothes

The Artists
Mel Alexenberg
is a systems artist and art educator.  Millions throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia have seen his computer-generated art, telecommunications art events, multi-media installations, and conceptual artworks.  He Head of the School of the Art at Emuna College in Jerusalem and  Professor Emeritus at Ariel University Center of Samaria in  Israel.  He was formerly Professor and Chairman of Fine Art at Pratt Institute in New York, Associate Professor of Art at Columbia University, Dean of Visual Arts at New World School of the Arts in Miami, and Research Fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. His artworks are in the collections of more than forty museums worldwide.

Ari Alexenberg is a systems artist and website designer.  He was publisher of www.weeklyecho.com, both a technoetic artwork and an interactive news site. He collaborated on the artistic design and technical development of a biofeedback-generated interactive system at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He designed web sites for numerous Fortune 500 companies including: Whirlpool, Gap, Gillete, Pricewaterhouse, John Deere, and 3Com.  His forward thinking ideas on web design have been presented in seminars and corporate meetings nationwide as exemplary of innovative uses of the rapidly evolving Internet medium. He was former president of Stratigent, a web analytics consulting company, and is currently Director of the Israel Action Center in Boston.

Miriam Benjamin is an artist who has been working in community-based participatory artworks.  She collaborated with African-American, Hispanic, and Jewish elders and youth in creating Art Thrones, monumental public artworks in Miami.  She studied art at Columbia University, Massachusetts College of Art, and Pratt Institute where she earned her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Cybersight is a deeply meaningful art project for her because she has retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that has made her legally blind.  She is Mel's wife and Ari's mother.