Touching the Tactile

Workshop at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, April 10th and 11th.

The institutions collaborating with Topographies of the Obsolete will all arrange their own workshops and seminars available for participants of the artistic research project and others interested in discourse with relations to the work done within the artistic research project. First institution out is the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, arranging the two-day workshop "Touching the Tactile" at the Medical Museion classical auditorium and in the sculptor department's grand studio at the Academy. This seminar investigates the impact of the manner in which archives, collections of objects and artworks are presented to the public, and the potential that lies in the sense of touch:

"As Aristotle already remarked, the sense of touch tends to evade any clear definition. Is touch a sense organ in its own right or does it rather operate as a general function that makes sensation in itself possible? Likewise, if all perception occurs through a medium that differs the sensing body from the sensed, how can one account for this interspace in tactile sensation if the distance between that which touches and that which is touched is barely discernible? Even if they primarily belong to a philosophical discourse, these and similar questions concerning the nature of touch are just as relevant in other contexts, especially those where the prosaicness of touch is circumscribed by specific rules and norms and enacted in particular spaces.

The aim of this workshop is to approach the sense of touch via a series of hands-on investigations and discussions that will take place within the context of art and museum practices. By focusing on touch, the workshop draws attention to features that are often overlooked in the fabric of art exhibits and museum displays. More particularly, the workshop will unfurl the experience and knowledge that comes with touch and the things that we touch. These are experiences that span from intimate relationships, over the skills of diverse crafts and the knowledge of specific materials to pedagogical methods and artistic positions that entail the actual touching of objects and works (e.g. museum exhibits for visually impaired people and artworks such as Gonzalez-Torres candy spills). The question is, among others, what kind of knowledge do we speak about when we speak about touch? What kind of remembrance is invoked? Is it conceptual, can it be conceptualized, or does it rather stand in opposition to concepts and visuality? Likewise, what difference does the actual touching of artworks and museum objects make?"


Medical Museion, Thursday April 10th

11.30 - 13.00: Arrival and lunch

13.00 - 13.20:  Welcome speech, Thomas Söderqvist, Director Medical Museion.  Short intro, Jan Eric Olsén

13.25 - 14.10:  Roundtable presentation, 4 minutes each, background, interests, perspectives…

14.15 - 15.00:  Teresa Nielsen, Vejen Art Museum, "Vejen Art Museum: a project for the blind - to the delight of many others".

15.00 - 15.20:  Jan Eric Olsén, Medical Museion, "Extracts from the blindhistorical collection".

15.20 - 15.45:  Coffee

15.45 - 16.30:  Lucy Lyons, London based artist, "Touch but don't touch: touching by proxy".

16.30 - 17.15:  Ane Pilegaard Sørensen, Medical Museion, "Between Bodies - Exhibiting medical materialities".

17.15 - 17.45:  Erik Hippe, Copenhagen based physician, demonstration of medical palpation.

17.45:  Reception

19.30:  Dinner

Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Friday April 11th

10.00 - 10.45: Zoe Laughlin, Institute of Making and the Materials Library Project, London, "The performativity of Matter: Greatest Hits & New Findings, 2014".

10.45 - 11.30:  Michael Renner, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Basel, "Ceramics: Intersection of the Tactile and the Visual".

11.30 - 12.00:  Albin Werle, Royal Academy of Art, Copenhagen, "Dream Archaeology".

12.00 - 13.00:  Lunch

13.00 - 13.45:  Toni Hildebrandt, Instituto Svizzero, Rome, "Drawing blindfolded: On the Relation of Touching and Memory".

13.45 - 14.30:  Anette Stenslund, Medical Museion, "Touching absence: the smell of nothing".

14.30 - 15.00:  Coffee

15.00 - 15.45:  Jakob Bak, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, "Haptic Design Materials".

15.45 - 16.30:  Laura Liv Weikop, Design Museum Copenhagen, "The Exhibition Lab - from glass cases to affect"

16.30 - 17.00:  Sum up

Arranged by: Medical Museion, Jan Eric Olsén, in collaboration with Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Schools of Visual Art, Jan Bäcklund, Henriette Heise, Karen Harsbo.
Collaborative partner: Topographies of the Obsolete, Bergen Academy of Art and Design. 

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