‘Our Carin’ in Times Square

On May 16th, it was Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Microsoft paid extensive attention to this by organizing an event at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where they launched and explained their accessibility technology. At the same time, a major campaign also started in New York’s Times Square where Carin de Bruin was featured on the large billboards for two weeks!

With the help of CoPilot, Microsoft’s AI tool, descriptive information about the various artworks is created so that people with visual impairments can also get an idea of the artwork.

As an expert by experience with a visual impairment, ‘our’ Carin was invited to test the AI-generated descriptions and provide feedback to improve them. Additionally, she appeared in the Dutch and American promo videos (filmed at the Rijksmuseum), and the so-called ‘shorts’ (short videos) in which she also appears are shown life-size on the Microsoft building in New York Times Square!

Every artistic interpretation deserves to be part of the conversation.
Quote; “Art is more than something to be admired by the eye. It’s a powerful statement. A personal resistance. An emotional connection to the world around us. But for some, like Carin de Bruin who has Usher syndrome, a rare inherited disease that causes both hearing loss and blindness, art is often not accessible. She regularly relies on friends and guided tours to access art museums. “Sometimes it feels like I’m excluded,” says Carin. “My low vision impacts a lot of aspects of life like education, employment, and social activities, but also my experience of cultural things.”

Read more about the collaboration between Microsoft and the Rijksmuseum here. You can also hear an example of an audio description: ‘Self-portrait’ by Vincent van Gogh.