Ilan Manouach has published a tactile comic book
Shapereader is a repertoire of forms and patterns, that constitute a coherent attempt to translate words and meanings into tactile formations.
Designed from scratch with the aim to transpose works of graphic literature to a blind and visually impaired readership, Shapereader advocates for new publishing grounds by challenging visual predominance of graphic storytelling. While it is mainly addressed to people with visual disabilities it can also be experienced by the acquainted regular user. Through circumvention of the visual sensorimotor stimuli, it activates the reader's repressed tactile-sensory realm and helps foster a new diegetic experience.
The first work designed by the Shapereader repertoire is Arctic Circle, a 30-page long graphic novel. It is built on the combined use of Braille alphabet and a finite Shapereader repertoire of 210 tactile patterns that form together complex tactile ensembles. On the side, a set of six separate hand-held communication boards help the reader navigating the narrative space. They carry all the important information, an index providing tactile equivalents for all the features specific to the Arctic Circle story: the characters of the narration, their actions and affections, the story's settings, elements, props and various graphic devices. The designs have been created by the pattern generator software void mesh() by Antonis Kalagkatsis.
The creation of Shapereader and the Arctic Circle prototype has been funded by the Finnish Institue Koneen Säätiö in 2013 for the Art & Multilingualism grant call. Shapereader and the graphic novel Arctic Circle have both been designed by visual artist Ilan Manouach.