Interactive Installation - November 2012 Arduino, DC Motors, Wood
"A hundred years ago, about 99% of babies in orphanages in the United States died before they were seven months old. Orphanages were an everyday part of the social landscape. Unwanted babies were deposited in these institutions, where modern antiseptic procedures and adequate food seemed to guarantee them at least a fighting chance for a healthy life. But the babies died,not from infectious diseases or malnutrition; they simply wasted away in a condition called “marasmus.” Sterile surroundings didn’t cure it; having enough food made no difference. These babies died from a completely different kind of deprivation: lack of touch. When babies were removed from these large, clean but impersonal institutions to environments where they received physical nurturing along with formula, the marasmus reversed. They gained weight and finally began to thrive."
Ben E. Benjamin, The Primacy of Human Touch
Northern European Societies tend to discount the importance of tactile pleasures. Among adults, touching and hugging are increasingly rare and almost discouraged.
Technology seems to have created modern substitutes for physical contact but substitutes can't replace something as strong and important as human interaction and many experiments show how the sense of touch is vital for human beings. "Touch is vital for the survival in the very young" explains PhD Ben E. Benjamin in his article "The Primacy of Human Touch" and “as we grow and develop, our need for touch does not diminish.” My purpose is to explore new possibilities to encourage people to interact with each other and overcome their 'haptic' fear.
Using technology and the excuse of a game, Musical Skin represented the first step of my artistic research in this direction.