Tactile Workshop

This is a 13 minute documentation of one of my tactile workshop, performed at the Royal College of Art, London, between 2005 – 2009

Tactile workshops have been a vital part of my personally tailored methodology. They functioned as a testing ground for various practical propositions, as well as an imaginative way of gaining new insights. The original trigger for these was Jan Švankmajer’s book Touch and Imagination, which contains various playful explorations as well as questionnaires and other experiments, some of which were based on original Surrealist games, while others were invented by the Prague Surrealist group of which Švankmajer is a member.
Having taken some of these as a starting point I developed a series of my own tactile exercises, which explored:

• The unique qualities of tactile perception
• The rich associations and embodied memories that touch can trigger
• The relationship between tactile and visual memory
• The role of attention and its relationship to scale
• The role of tactile imagination
• Tactile communication and gestic impressions (based on Jan Švankmajer’s theories and experiments)
• The translation of textures and tactile properties into emotional qualities (with reference to Marinetti’s Scale of Tactile Values )
• The practical application of tactile language to creating artwork

The workshops were normally divided into two main parts. The first was designed to allow the participants to be immersed in an experience by becoming sensitized to touch, and through isolating touch from sight with the help of a blindfold, which was worn throughout and only taken off for specific tasks, which will be pointed out.

The second part consisted of defining a palette of tactile values and translating these to emotional values, and then using this palette to communicate narratives based on dreams or memories.


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