If we eliminate the dominance of sight, a world of cold, round, heavy, soft, tiny, sharp, hollow and smooth objects will emerge.
How do we handle them? What do they tell us? Which ones do we like?
Quotations from participants:
“I’ve never looked at things to combine them, or to touch them. I mean, I touch them every day, but I’m not aware.”
“This is to me, which is the right word, it’s not relaxing, it’s more than relaxing, it’s healing, yes it’s healing for me.”
“I look at these objects in front of me, in the real world. And I see them also here, on the screen, in the context of event on the zoom. That situation somehow emphasizes their reality. It is a good exercise to raise awareness of the wonders of the physical world around us, in comparison to the virtual one I am immerged in usually. ”
“It was cool for me to become aware of that process of how something we have and experience in itself (the sense of touch), when you concentrate and become aware, becomes more intense and sophisticated, more layered.”
“I always touch with my palm, my fingers. I don’t remember sensing things with my forearm, or upper arm, or noticing the weight of the shirt on me.”
“Then the transition from parquet to carpet, how unusual, I sit on that carpet all day and I’ve never payed attention to it.”
“It was really good for me, powerful, to experience things around me in a different way.”
photo: Andreja Hotko Pavić
Tactile Composition / My Apartment – the Sculpture I Live In
“… I am finding it hard to define what that is, but it definitely has something to do with time, memory and the disappearance of what you are looking at as you encounter it from every point of view. And these experiences propose sculpture as being as much about performance, film and many other art forms as it is about the still, silent, material object.” – Phyllida Barlow
Artworks on the theme of house or home by Louise Bourgeois (Femme Maison, 1947) and Antony Gormley (Home, 1984) show a remarkable similarity in approach, as well as in the treatment of the theme in terms of content and form. However, both artworks remain rooted in the domain of illustrative visuality. The theme of Marina’s experiential encounter speaks about the same theme from a different perspective, from the other side – the one behind the door, behind closed eyes.
Unlike in the art of performance, where the performing body is viewed, constructed or deconstructed as a socially valid visual fact, in this case the body is viewed from within as a completely private psychophysical material. Our everyday battlefield of various confrontations between internal and external sensations, maybe even a continuous adjustment to rough clothing materials, tightening hair bands, uncomfortable seats, mattresses that are too soft, stiff soles. But usually, we do not think of these constraints at all, especially not in terms of laws that govern body posture, our posture, favourite positions by which we then become visually recognisable to people around us.
The encounter is dedicated to the exploration of tactile perception and its content is partly related to the interactive work Delving (2019), which Marina performed as a contemporary art intervention for the Permanent Exhibition of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, intended to be touched more than to be viewed. Through guided exercises for sensitisation of the sense of touch, Zrinka’s somatic practice first slowly introduces the participants to the notion that the body is an organism in constant internal movement, moved even by involuntary muscles when breathing. Closing one’s eyes is an important precondition for this kind of exclusive movie on the self-observation of a silent material object, which explores its surroundings with a lot of imaginative potential.
Recognising the sculpturality of space and the things we live with through the sense of touch is a different and unusual experience, in which the everyday functionality and banality of things are overshadowed by a playful search for the intensity and quality of experience (soft or cold?). Achieving a participatory character is completed in the exchange of experiences through Marina’s proposition to find and establish tactile relationships, leaving the question of establishing criteria open (complementary supplementing or contrasting merging or…). By connecting in communication through visual presentations of selected objects, the participants enrich and upgrade the individual tactile experience with the guests they virtually welcome into their home.
 Interview // Phyllida Barlow. Immediations Online, Volume 4, Number 2, 2017. https://courtauld.ac.uk/research/research-resources/publications/immeditations-postgraduate-journal/immediations-online/2017-2/interview-phyllida-barlow/