Opinion piece: London beyond sight: The city via audio description

By Zaynab Garba

Art Beyond Sight is a project that started in New York in 2006 which has recently come to London. It is a compilation of detailed audio descriptions and commentary of well known landmarks around the city, delivered by well known locals.

Last year 40 audio files were released to the public featuring commentaries of different landmarks around the capital delivered by some famous and infamous Londoners. Steven Berkoff speaking about The Shard and Sir Derek Jacobi on the Old Vic are just part of a wonderful line up of correspondents. Though my personal favourite has to be Alastair Stewart delivering his take on the Cenotaph. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Alastair speak of his personal affiliations and views on what the monument represents, as well as his knowledge of it’s esthetic intricacies and mathematic proportions. Working with professional describers to deliver each piece, the narrator is able to talk about aspects of Lutyen’s monument that a seeing person may miss, like the fact that the Portland stone from which it is built mirrors that of the buildings around it and that it’s outer sides are designed at an angle which means they would meet 1000 feet in the air if they kept on rising.

Well known voices, enigmatic delivery and interesting content all serve in making this project truly beyond sight. The project makes London’s visual culture accessible to all, including those with visual impairments. You can view London Beyond Site through the link below.


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