Guggenheim's Audio Guide Brings The Art Museum To Listeners' 'Mind's Eye' The "Mind's Eye" audio experience is an aural escape during the pandemic, but it's actually designed for the blind community. The idea is to immerse listeners in a space that can be vividly imagined.

Guggenheim's Audio Guide Brings The Art Museum To Listeners' 'Mind's Eye'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/928348744/929402322" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's travel to a New York City landmark with the help of a guide.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM AUDIO GUIDE, "MIND'S EYE")

MARILEE TALKINGTON: As we near 88th Street, the circular concrete building reveals itself in full magnificence. It's the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That's the Guggenheim Museum's audio guide there. It's called "Mind's Eye." And it's a compilation of New York voices describing the iconic building design by Frank Lloyd Wright. Karen Bergman of the Guggenheim Museum calls it a meditative experience.

KAREN BERGMAN: I remember in one listening session, someone said that hearing these tracks really made them homesick for the museum. It really does bring people directly there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

BISHOP CHANTEL WRIGHT: This is the Guggenheim's rotunda.

BD WONG: At the base of the spiral ramp, a one-quarter mile path unfolds in front of us in ever-widening loops.

BERGMAN: The concrete everywhere inside is painted and appears white. Though, really what we experience is brightness.

INSKEEP: "Mind's Eye" has become a tool for people to use during the pandemic. It allows them to visit the museum even though it's closed. It was actually made for a different purpose, for people who are blind or have low vision. Actor Marilee Talkington is one of the narrators and herself is legally blind.

TALKINGTON: I mean, of course, I've felt left out. I feel left out in almost every space that I go into. That's just part of moving through the world as a blind, low-vision person or a disabled person. I mean, our physical architecture of the world excludes us.

GREENE: Listening to this tour of the Guggenheim Museum, Talkington says she is transported.

TALKINGTON: I love these moments when they were talking about the low walls and how they weren't smooth.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM AUDIO GUIDE, "MIND'S EYE")

MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL: It's not perfectly smooth, but feels very comfortable in our hands.

INSKEEP: That's the voice of actress Maggie Gyllenhaal narrating there.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM AUDIO GUIDE, "MIND'S EYE")

GYLLENHAAL: Running our hands over it, we find it's pitted and uneven, like an orange peel or a cantaloupe, due to the many layers of paint used to touch up the walls to keep them bright.

TALKINGTON: I feel that I'm able to access what most people visually access.

(SOUNDBITE OF PORT BLUE'S "GENTLE DESCENT")

TALKINGTON: The sensory guide, I feel, is for us. It's for my community, but it's actually for everybody.

(SOUNDBITE OF PORT BLUE'S "GENTLE DESCENT")

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.