'Unseen' Audio Comic to Star Blind Hero

Unseen Key Art - Publicity - H 2019
Thomas Rodgers
Multimedia artist Chad Allen, who is blind, penned the project "to make sense of the challenging times in which we live."

Chad Allen’s Unseen is a comic experience unlike any other — if nothing else, because it’s a comic that was created to be heard, not read.

The “comic” — an audio performance featuring a full cast, led by Vanessa Stewart and Misty Lee — features a blind assassin operating in a dystopian, totalitarian United States in which she is discounted due to her lack of vision… an oversight that those in power may learn to regret. The origins of the project lie in Allen’s own blindness.

“I wrote Unseen to help me make sense of the challenging times in which we live,” he explained in a statement about the work. “Often my worldview is ignored, and as a blind person, it feels as if that marginalization is amplified further by the challenges we face to be heard. The American politics of the 21st Century leave many of us feeling helpless to do anything about the atrocities caused by government policy. With such erratic decisions being made daily, we live in a constant state of fear. It is that fear that compelled me to do the thing I knew I could do to voice my concerns: write a story. It may not seem like much, but under the circumstances expression is better than inaction.”

The 25-minute Unseen has been available to visitors as part of the Self, Made: Exploring You in a World of We exhibit in the San Francisco Exploratorium since late May, and will run until the end of the exhibit on Sept. 2. Allen will be appearing at the Exploratorium on Sunday, Aug. 18, for a performance of Unseen as well as a discussion of the creation of the comic. More information can be found on the project’s website.