Touching Visions / Week 14 / 2-2-2021

Notable quotes from the readings provided in the lecture.

Touch is and implies:
Physical, embodied, material, corporeal,
Sensual, intimate, pleasurable, arousing, erotic, vulnerable, painful, (subjectivity)
Experience, immediacy, authenticity, certainty, reality, (objectivity)
Proximity, contact, directness, immersion, commonality,
Feeling, touching and being touched, who/what, being in touch,
Care, engagement, accountability 

Haptics aims to problematise all these into a framework that can be translated for the ‘machine’

Notes from David Parisi’s 
“Haptic Interfaces and the Quest to Reinscribe Tactility,” in Archaeologies of Touch,
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018 —

“Five Phases of Interfacing:

First phase: Developing a language
Users who came into contact with early electrical machines articulated these gradations in experience by developing a detailed semi-standardized language of shock that allowed for the transcription, circulation, and comparison of experimental encounters.

Second Phase: Tactile Modernity
A new set of knowledge-producing apparatuses were set upon the body with the intent of yielding objective scientific knowledge about the operation of the tactual senses.

Third phase:
In the middle 20th century, a productive contact between touch and technical communication systems designed machines capable of routing data through a touch now reconceived of as a channel for the transmission of information.

Fourth Phase:
Making touch experiences into something that could be stored, transmitted, and synthesized by computers.
Machines capable of simulating the physical materiality of objects that existed only in the electronic realm of computer memory.

Fifth Phase: Crafting a Narrative
Advertisers in the 21st century managed to produce a demand and desire for touch-based interfaces.
Touch is fetishised as a marker of the consumer’s passage into a utopic future of fully embodied presence in digital worlds.”

Personal notes:
It has become obvious since the 2000s as big techs released (namely microsoft and apple) the first tablets and smartphones that ‘touching’ became an essential part of design. We can hardly imagine our phone without a tactical screen. With that comes the idea of body ‘extention’. Primitive examples of this are glasses, crutches, knobsticks... This builds up a kind of relationship unique to the ‘machine’ and man: a need to overcome and surpass what his body can hardly achieve. Digital tools of this century are now the new glasses and knowsticks that are becoming almost as vital as food and water and the need for social interaction. Nowadays the idea of body extention is widely apparent and has become of the many ‘vital’ needs of 21st century consumers.