Senses and (dis)ability: a creative reorganization

Wednesday 2 December 2015

(Interview published in Concordia NOW)


Piet Devos, a visiting postdoctoral fellow at Concordia’s Centre for Sensory Studies, has been blind since the age of five. In his academic research he examines how we use our senses to perceive the world around us.

On December 11, Devos will present the centre’s Fall Semester Sensory Studies Research Seminar. “Born to incarnate my wound: (Dis)abilities and haptics in a modern world (1880-1950)” will address the role of the senses through the lens of disability.

“I still think very visually,” says Devos. “People think when you go blind, you are immersed in darkness. That’s a cliché, and often not at all what happens.”

A writer and literary scholar, Devos experiences the world through imagery, in spite of his condition. “Every letter has a different colour for me, every piece of music has colours for me. That’s really my natural way of seeing things,” he explains. “To give you an example, “B” is green. It’s called synesthesia, when you see one sense through the other. Some people taste colours.”

Other items related to the theme Media:

Beyond disciplines: come to your senses

28 November 2016
(Podcast released by Concordia University, Montreal) How do we use our senses in everyday life? How do people with disabilities experience the sensory world?
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‘Productive and inspiring’: Piet Devos bids adieu to Concordia’s Centre for Sensory Studies

03 October 2016
(Interview published in Concordia NOW) The visiting postdoctoral fellow tackles visualist thinking in two final events coordinated by the Centre for Sensory Studies.
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Re-imagining perception from a disabled perspective

20 November 2014
(TEDx talk Stadsschouwburg, Groningen) “How is it possible that braille is completely white when printed, when the description can be so extremely colorful? Literature of any kind can create such a vivid picture and might also reactive earlier memories.”
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