BODY ↔ BILDER, workshop and exhibition between seeing and touching by Jovana Komnenić and Dirk Sorge, Schillerpalais, Berlin, 2013
In this workshop the participants built tactile pictures that are not flat, but have a relief surface and are supposed to be touched – not seen. The pictures were exhibited in a completely dark room and thus became invisible for the entire audience. It may seem strange to call them “pictures”, since they are not to be seen at all, but they are not sculptures either, they exist between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional realms.
In the exhibition we learned a lot about the mechanisms of the visual art system and the conventions that rule it. For touching a picture and following a line with your finger, you usually need much more time than you need when looking at it. When touching a picture, it is most suitable to only have one person standing in front of it. These two differences forced the audience of the exhibition to slow down in the dark room.
Not every picture could be recognized in the sense that it displayed concrete objects. Many were abstract and the process of touching itself was the subject of the art work.
For the sighted visitors it was an important experience to use their sense of touch. This sense is used a lot in everyday situations, but most of the time it happens without paying attention to it.