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work in progress

research question: how to create affectionate touch without skin-to-skin contact and without the incentive coming from the closely related.

I aim at a way to offer people alternatives to personal touch. I am developing a work of art that encourages an active audience to engage, connect, and explore touch without the individuals having to touch each other.

'Future Affair' is a cross-disciplinary project in which I want to deepen my research on affectionate touch and inter-personal fluid relationships. For Future Affair, I collaborate with scientists from Technical University in Delft and I have an interactive design master student (Amy den Dekker) working as an intern at my studio. We are working on a concept for an installation that allows people to establish an intimate encounter using tactile sculptures and haptic technology. The communication is done remote. Audiences are not seeing or touching each other: they communicate by interacting with the work and by doing so activate pulsations (vibrations/ movement/ light/ temperature) that are experienced and can be reacted to by another party.

I believe this way of communication can offer fresh new possibilities, possibly transcending cultural norms and taboos surrounding touch. (explanation: you are comfortable touching an object than a person.)
I would like to produce a series of sculptures and machines which will can be used in various semi-public spaces and art project spaces. Future Affair is a cross-disciplinary project that provokes thought about the importance of interpersonal touch, encouraging audiences to explore trust, connection, and emotion without directly touching or seeing one another. Future Affair uses tactile art and haptic technology to encourage communication that sidesteps cultural norms and taboos.
The first prototype under development is a caressing machine connected to a ceramic sculpture. While one user is caressing the bumpy surface of the ceramics piece, the other is feeling the gentle touch delivered either by a silicone finger, feather or brush.

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Interactive installation
ceramics, silicone, brush, wood, arduino, stepper motor, sensors
work in progress

  • interactive designer Amy Den Dekker (TU Delft)
  • technical advise/ superviser Dan Shor (TU Delft)
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