Tactile Dialogues is a rug. A tufted rug that is not meant to be walked on. When you touch the rug, a pressure sensor detects your hand and through a pair of speakers or headphones you can hear conversations, personal stories about touch.

Touch is one of our biggest senses, the receptors in our skin cover our entire body. At birth, or even while we are still in our mothers’ wombs, touch plays an essential role in the development of our brains. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878929317301962#bib0065)

Affective versus discriminative touch. In my further research on this topic I would like to focus on the former. Because my goal is to open up a conversation about affective touch. Not necessarily to delve into the discriminative aspects.

Touch changes throughout our lives. It’s also politicised. It changes according to our cultural background. Could touching each other more be beneficial? Could it bring us closer? Make us more empathetic? I’m thinking of soft and intuitive interactions between friends. Normalising softness not as a weakness but as a power. The power to free others from stress. The power to show love, compassion, care. The rug is made to open a conversation on the subject by sharing other people’s experiences. final project on this page.

Detail image

Feedback and possible improvements

At the moment, conversations are triggered by pressing on the rug. It would be much better if you could just stroke the fibres and get a reaction.

The shapes I have chosen are based on an abstract drawing where I imagined the shapes that touch could take. The abstract shapes can have more meaning as it is the centre of the interaction that holds place. One suggestion I got is that the shapes can be drawn in collaboration with the people interviewed/recorded.

The interviews are part of the art. They should be treated accordingly. There was an unbalanced amount of time spent on the different parts of the project. Tufting - Electronics - Recording.

And on the subject itself, there are important questions to be answered. Who is asking and why? Should I be the one to raise the voices on this subject?