Electronic media artist Ed Osborn collaborated with the Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (the Lighthouse) to develop a public installation for and by the visually impaired that was to be installed in Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. The plan for the SoundGarden was to incorporate audio content drawn from the experiences and lives of visually impaired people into the “Talking Sign” navigation system for visitors to the garden.
Several hours of material were developed for the piece through workshops at the Lighthouse for the Blind. Installation of the SoundGarden Project was to take place in 1996-97. However, delays in the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s construction schedules were followed by several years of unusually heavy winter weather in the late 1990s–delaying installation of the Talking Sign system. In the meantime, technology for the navigation system became more sophisticated and it proved impossible to adapt the work that Osborn and the Lighthouse clients had completed without incurring significant new costs. The project had to be abandoned.
Ed Osborn works with many forms of electronic media, including installation, video, sound, and performance. He has performed and exhibited internationally. The Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired was established in 1902 as the Reading Room for the Blind. Through the years, it merged with other agencies to provide recreational, educational, and social services to persons with visual impairments. On October 1, 1993, the Lighthouse for the Blind and the Rose Resnick Center merged. The merged organization promotes independence, equality, and self-reliance of people who are blind and visually impaired.
Pictured: Sample sound installations by Ed Osborn