In the tale of the Blind Men and the Elephant, six blind men are asked to touch an elephant and describe what they’ve experienced. Each one feels a different part of the elephant’s body and reports back to one another only to learn that they are in complete disagreement as to what they think they have touched.
Blind Elephant Magazine is an experimental arts journal and artist portfolio created collaboratively between visual artists, performers and graphic designers. Within each issue the content is developed through a series of dialogs and collaborations to explore the potential for the printed page as a tableau for performance based works. Supplementing the visual assets of the publication are transcriptions of conversations about the narrative and decision making process for the magazine as well as strategies and anecdotes brought up throughout the collaboration.
Each issue of Blind Elephant begins with a dialog between all the artists as to what will result in a visually compelling magazine based on each individual’s artistic goals. Through this process the content, narrative and/or theme will emerge and the performer(s) will develop a piece intended to be portrayed in a two-dimensional viewing space. The participants agree on a short fixed time period in which to execute and develop all of the work. Final works, as well as transcriptions of conversations, essays and reflections by the participants are then compiled and designed into a magazine format in a manner that compliments the collective aesthetic drive.
This interchange between artistic disciplines provides an open platform for collaboration, contributes towards an interdisciplinary dialog and provides a new format for appreciation of artwork from across the creative spectrum. The aspiration of each issue will be for the contributing artists to create works that go beyond personal biases and towards a vision informed by the other participants. The exchange of critical language between performers (stage direction, timing, action etc…), visual artists (mark making, space, scale, mass etc…) and graphic designers (context, legibility, information flow etc…) will push each artist to expand their artistic vocabulary. The end result of this cross-disciplinary experiment will give viewers a unique opportunity to experience visual and performance based works within the accessible and familiar landscape of a magazine.
The moral of the Blind Men and the Elephant tale is that each person is correct in their assumption, that the truth is subjective and there are always many perspectives of the same story. Blind Elephant Magazine embraces the subjectivity of the artist’s eye by providing many different vantage points to appreciate the content. Unlike the story, however, the elephant is one devised entirely by the blind men allowing for something entirely new – and unexpected – to arise from their collective efforts.