Touched - EVA V&A Digital Futures Showcase

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


As part of the EVA London 2018 conference on Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, V&A Digital Futures has organised two special evening events, presenting a series of technology-based installations and enabling networking of those interested in digital art. Digital Futures has been focusing on topics around the impact of technology in art, society and contemporary culture, bringing to the fore questions of privacy and surveillance, big data, IoT, technological obsolescence, identity and value in a digital age, to digital tools for civic engagement and action, and more. The platform enables critical discussions, but also long-term research projects and partnerships, using Digital Futures events for sharing, collaboration, and exchange, engage with global issues; sharing artistic processes, and demystifying technology.Touched by Paul SermonWhilst our typing hands do not normally have any further role or function other than pressing keys, this installation proposes to turn our webcam chat attention away from our talking heads and focus on our hands, located on a shared telepresent keyboard as a backdrop to a new space of remote intimacy. A space that was once the domain of textual exchanges now becomes the space of performance, abstract poetry, and handheld encounters as a new sensation of being touched by text. ‘Touched’ aims to provoke an altogether new social networked encounter by simply rearranging our computer peripherals; webcam, projector and screen in an alternative manner. The installation consists of a computer screen and keyboard on a table with a webcam situated directly above it, picking up a birds eye view of the table top and keyboard below. This image is sent to another computer where the image is received and projected directly down onto another table and keyboard. A webcam situated next to the projector picks up an image of the projected keyboard and the actual keyboard and sends it back to the other participant. The hands meet, touch and type together on this keyboard surface, whilst also appearing as a live computer desktop image upon which the simple Unix command line chat interface is overlaid. As each person begins to type and chat his or her hands meet and visually mix on this telepresent keyboard surface where dialogues, games, and encounters unfold. Whilst on the one hand it is a completely simple set up it is an entirely new physical encounter on the other; echoing palmist conversations that suggest the convergence of virtual spirits and contemporary digital chat-room environments composited on screen.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherVictoria and Albert Museum
Media of outputOnline
Size4 x 4 metres
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2018
EventDigital Futures: EVA London 2018 - British Computer Society London Office, 5 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Jul 201812 Jul 2018


  • telematic
  • performance
  • telepresence
  • web chat
  • networks
  • proprioception


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