Making touch visible with the suture of fantasy with virtual aesthetician in “The Best Facial Clinic”: The glitchy-score of tele-synaesthesia performance in the age of global pandemic

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been adapting as fugitives of this accidental encounter with an “untouchable” virus, while being rendered into the shared virtual arena, where our discursive bodies are situated within, embedded in and tele-commuted to. Our increasing dependence on online interaction and video conferencing during the pandemic is not only facilitating social connectedness, but also contemplating the question: How to elongate our somatosensation and echo the embodied experience of touching through the incorporeal virtual connectivity? This essay focuses on the embodied nature of tele-synaesthesia performance, its potential effect of forging a rhythmic connection from one sensuous modality to another, and the concurrent emergences of glitch and internet latency as non-verbal cues of internet-situated communication. In reference to Laura Mark’s theory of haptic visuality, where vision triggers a tactile experience in the body; Naomi Bennett’s concept of virtual touch, in which an affective sensory response of touch can be elicited through non-tactile senses, Paul Sermon’s artistic production of Telematic Quarantine (2020) and Pandemic Encounter (2020), that telepresents the stories of self (isolation), and in relation to Michel Foucault’s concept Heterotopia in the context of internet-situated performance, I examine the performance work I have been developing during lockdown since March 2020: The Best Facial (2021), supported by Centre for Digital Media Cultures Research and School of Art Postgraduate Research at University of Brighton, a number of sessions of 25-minute 1-to-1 participatory tele-synaesthesia performances that take place on Zoom, where I become a virtual aesthetician and use telepresence to perform meditative virtual facial tactics, and to make tele-contact improvisation upon the surface of the participant’s face to trigger tactile experiences through haptic visuality, virtual touching, and auditory fantasization.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalARTNODES, e-journal on art, science and technology
    Issue number28
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021

    Keywords

    • Participatory performance
    • haptic visuality
    • heterotopias
    • Telecommunications
    • Synaesthesia
    • glitch
    • Performance Art

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