Tactile Intervention in a Digital Environment – Zero Hour Residency Week Two.
Week Two is over! I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying on this four-week residency. Our exploration of ‘touch’ is well underway!
Over the past two weeks, Wendy Yu and I have connected through a mutual love of absurdity. We decided to examine our shared goal of exploring ‘touch’ across digital platforms.
The reality is, that we want to explore tactile engagement and the physicality of touch – but how can we do this in a digital space? Somewhere that does not physically exist or have a tactility beyond the keyboard. This has led us to the somewhat oxymoronic phrase ‘tactile intervention in a digital environment’.
For week two, ‘We Belong Here‘ set the challenge to investigate our own creative spaces and how we are utilising them. To me, this was something of a revelation. I did not want to explore ‘my surroundings’ in the physical world. I wanted to explore the possibility of creating a digital studio – a space online which we could cohabit. For me, remaining in a physical environment whilst collaborating online seemed counter-intuitive. Wendy had similar concerns about the real world getting in the way of digital collaboration.
Through the studio, we explore interactions and interpretation of data. During week one I produced preliminary videos and sound recordings of my hands. How do they feel and sound to me? I wanted to know how the visual stimulus of my ‘touch’ could effect Wendy? Images of touch do not constitute touch so how would she respond to them?
Wendy’s responses blew me away. Using a program called Max, she created several sets of instructions for my videos to follow while she physically interacted with them. Wendy brought her own physicality as a performer and coder to the forefront. Over the course of the second week, she wrote and responded to me, and I, in turn, developed our online space.
Suddenly my abstract and ephemeral hands could be interacted with. They had a tactile quality in a digital environment.
Below you can see us enhabiting the digital studio. In the background, you can see the staircase where Wendy has been projecting and exploring Max. The video we are inspecting is one of the preliminary videos of my hands. In the bottom right, you can see Wendy explaining the patch to me and how it works.
By removing the physical world from the project and allowing absurdity in, we have given ourselves space to work and express without (ironically) physical limits. We are pushing forward and exploring the fascinating space where the physical and digital intersect.
To read more about the Zero Hour Residency check out my previous blog.