This year I participated at This Art Fair, an art fair which takes place every year in Amsterdam, which makes space for individual artists to show and sell their works without the intervention of galleries. The Dutch newspaper De Parool published a nice and well-researched review about my work in their article about the fair, among other projects shown and an interview with the This Art Fair’s new director. For the English-speaking people, I tried to translate the article written by Edo Dijksterhuis.
“One and a half meter lifestyle” was published in 2020 by the Society Our Language word of the year. ‘skin hunger’ was in second place. The lack of intimacy and touch during the beginning of the corona pandemic was so strong that it dominated the daily language. But in fact, quarantine and other corona measures are a trend that has already been going on for much longer. Due to digitization, we are living more and more through screens and by increasing the uncertainty about what is and is not permissible in physical contact there is discomfort which crept into our kisses, hugs and hugs.
The Romanian artist Laura A. Dima, an alumnus of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, responds to this with Future Affair. It’s an installation which consists of two cabins, who are in between a telephone booth and a confessional. One contains a control panel and the other a ‘stroking machine’: three silicone fingers that are mechanically driven. Once the person’s hand lies in the machine and has given permission, the fingers start stroking the arm and wrist, a place that is experienced sensually by many people. So does the need to become physical is solved, contact-free and safe from the danger of infection or unacceptable behaviour.
Future Affair is related to other work by Dima. So she previously made the Finger Rub Rug, which consists of 1300 curved fingers and heating elements that feel real. And through her Consent Pods, sculptures full of electronics, two people can communicate through a heartbeat or breathing simulation.
As with Future Affair, you can wonder about these works: how real touch through such a device actually feels like. Do we touch each other or just the machine? Is the essence of the touch in the intention or in the authenticity of the experience? These are particularly interesting and relevant questions in an era in which more and more people spend more time in virtual space than in the physical world.”
Thank you for your wors, Edo Dijksterhuis.