In order to understand something, you have to touch it. I came up with this sentence while I was feeling a great need for tactical contact and connection with people around me. Touch is the most important tool for me to get to know people. I can only make friends with someone if I can touch them. Body contact is also the best evidence proving that we exist. People always needed tactility and connection with others. Touch is the key tool of cognition. You can see our way to communicate in society as a social touch that automatically turns it into a political discourse. The globalized world tries to unite us and set in motion. We accelerate processes and try to save time. At the same time, alienation is highlighted as a trend. Social networks make communication affordable in any part of our planet, but we pay less time for people around us. We are afraid of scent and contact from others.
How do you answer a homeless man that smells bad and asks you to give him a hug?
Will you drink from the same glass of someone who has HIV?
Will you shake hands with your neighbor who is a prostitute?
Will you visit the gay wedding and wishing the couple happiness and love?
These are all our social touches. But we are even afraid of looks and intimacy in public places. If someone touches you by accident on the subway or on the bus, your first reaction is most likely rejection, alienation, the desire to pull away, to get away from that person. Since January 2016 I have been collecting social touches, which always happen unexpectedly in the city with random people. Like in the supermarket when the cashier touches your hand when they give you money. Or on the subway when you accidentally touch someone seated next to you, or while your hands are holding onto the bar. This is contact from people you don’t know or you wouldn’t ever expect to touch.
TOUCH research consists of many different exersices, actions, interventions, performances, videos, and a big amount of people involved.
Here you can hear my TOUCH stories that I recorded while going on the subway in Berlin as part of the action TOUCH ME.
My goal in the end to make my first big movie, I already started working on some topics of the TOUCH research and still collecting material.