Touch Me

This is an artistic project that aims to explore the sense of touch. The piece invites interactors to engage in a playful and curious attitude towards the human skin, in particular as a reminiscence of the (re)discovery of lovers’ skin.

The creation process of the piece served as a vehicle of affective self-monitoring, it forced me to connect at a high level of consciousness the used of my own sense of touch, and to reflect on how others engage with theirs. A journal was the container of such reflections: annotations on experiences, thoughts, insights, questions, limitations, and potentialities. Some of these ideas were elaborated further in physical forms by the creation of prototypes (clay, silicone samples) and the final work piece: a circular silicone surface shaped with skin subtle features such as scars, moles, hair, scabs, and wrinkles, as well as small prominences; an under the surface systems of hoses resembles blood flow and keeps the silicone warm for further realistic simulation.

Touch plays an important role in human development, from growth stimulating of newborns, through supporting connection in relationships, to understanding the world around us. Different artist have previously explored these multiple aspects of touch and its main organ, the skin. Some of them have focused on the malleability of the skin and have undergone physical alterations on themselves (i.e. Orlan, Stelarc), others on the idea of skin as a “suit” that covers us permanently and how to augment this ‘container’ into artefacts, such as bags that are visually and texturally skin-like (Goulet).

The approach that I decided to undertake in this project was to revive touch and skin in the framework of a close, lover relationship. This type of scenario can encourage people to explore in a close manner a body that it’s not their own, but that they want to own with desire. The lover label can implicitly grant permission to touch, plus rise a tension between tenderness and being tough, longing and possessing, familiarity and discovery.

This art work aims to bring to the foreground the sense of touch which is used constantly but seldom paid enough attention to it. This work aspires to exercise the nuances of touch, which hopefully would encourage people to keep such attitude beyond the premises of the exhibit. Touch is the main sense stimulated in this work, nevertheless the piece is fully uncovered and can be freely explore through sight as well, challenging visitors to feel peculiar features and recognize them without looking at them. My intention with this work is to provide an abstract skin-like canvas where people can playfully explore with their sense of touch, in an inviting framework that awakens thrill, curiosity, and desire as in an intimate relationship.

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