Towards an Aesthetics of Touch

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Lauren HAYES, Arizona State University, USA
Jessica RAJKO, Arizona State University, USA
In this paper we explore an interdisciplinary approach towards an aesthetics of touch. Research into the role of the body has become increasingly prevalent in fields ranging from philosophy of mind to human-computer interaction. At the same time, haptic technology has becoming ubiquitous within personalized devices and wearables. Despite this, touch remains largely under-explored within contemporary aesthetics. We firstly outline what might be gained from artistic practices that acknowledge a multisensory model of perception. Secondly, we discuss the difficulties of arriving at a standardized taxonomy for touch-based aesthetics and why this endeavor may not be fruitful. Finally, we outline an approach based on first-person felt experiences, drawing on creative practice research involving computational technology within the fields of somatics, dance, and music. We propose an approach that is contextual or site-responsive, and improvisational, acknowledging the complex and dynamic relationships at play between bodies in an environment, and one that celebrates the different ways in which agents make sense of the world through embodied experiences that are socioculturally situated.