2017-2018 COOP study group: Topologies of Touch ~ Florian Göttke, Marianna Maruyama, Jorinde Seijdel ~ Partner: Open!

Students: Alejandro Cerón, Anja Khersonska, Mónica Lacerda, Pitchaya Ngamcharoen, Aldo Ramos, Jasmin Schädler, Ines Schärer ~

 Topologies of Touch from Month to Month

Curator: Jorinde Seijdel, Reseacher: Florian Göttke, Artist: Marianna Maruyama

Topologies of Touch

skin talk, tongue touch, breath speech, hand laugh

This year’s Open! Coop Academy study group is about our sense of touch and feel, about the tactile and the haptic in philosophical and political terms, and in cultural, artistic and social practices. Topologies of Touch refers to a ‘tactile topology’ that focuses on the material connections among mobile bodies.

The interrelated questions and topics we want to explore are: 1) touch in digital culture; 2) the body and the sense of touch in relation to politics, and 3) hapticality as ‘the capacity to feel through others’ (Harney/Moten).

1) How do we feel and touch in our technologically mediated, dematerialized digital culture? What does it mean to tap and stroke a screen, to swipe and pinch in order to stay connected? In what way is the body, its tactilities and its feel involved here? Is the body secundary to the technology? And what are the implications from developments such as Apple and other media companies applying for patents for certain hand/touch gestures?

2) How can we trace the ways in which touch informs and reforms the body in regards to concepts such as violence, gender, sexuality, democracy and identity? How do sensing bodies run up against existing political structures? Can we resist paralyzing body-politics and cultivate ‘gestures’ of resistance?

3) Hapticality as ‘the capacity to feel through others’ is proposed by Stefano Harney & Fred Moten in The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013). They speak abouta way of feeling through others, a feel for feeling others feeling you. This is modernitys insurgent feel, its inherited caress, its skin talk, tongue touch, breath speech, hand laugh. This is the feel that no individual can stand, and no state abide. This is the feel we might call hapticality.” (p. 105)

Key words:

affect, body, blindness, braille, button, care, click, contact, disability, feel, feelies (the), finger, force, gesture, hand, hapticality, intimacy, interface, joystick, love, magnetism, manicures, movement, neurophysiology, oculocentrism, oxytocin, pain, perception, phantom pain, pressure, prothesis, scanning, screen, senses, sensitivity, sensorium, tentacular, tentacles, sign language, skin, soma, surface, tactile, tele-dildonics, tele-tactility, touch…

Study-group Open! Coop Academy

We will work individually and collectively and learn and teach together:

Reading Groups moderated by tutors and study group participants. Texts among others by Erin Manning, Fred Moten/Stefano Harney, Michel Serres, Jean-Luc Nancy, Rizvana Bradley, Hypatia Vourloumis and Laura Marks.

Screenings with after talks to reflect on materials by artists such as Yvonne Rainer’s Hand Movie (1966), Touch Cinema (1968) by Valie Export, Stelarc’s performance project The Third Hand (1992) and Harun Farocki’s video The Expression of Hands (1997).

Seminars with guest-tutors (artists or theorists).

Face-to-face meetings to talk over participants’ ongoing practice and the development of the assignments.

Workshops, hands-on, making, moving.

Walks into the woods or into the city.

Working and making individually and on the spot

Proposal time-space for lectures, presentations and performances

Documenting the gatherings and its input and output to form an online working archive that can be accessed via the DAI website.



Topologies of Touch image-text-Lexicon: To break open and map the subject-matter, each participant will compose entries for this collaborative work to be published on Open!. )

A piece of practiced writing: Each participant will develop their own approach and ‘text’. ‘Writing’ is interpreted broadly and bodily here, and not necessarily as a written text on screen or paper. We address writing and publishing in connection with touch and feel.

The final presentation in Athens will become a group work including individual works. It might become a spatial, multi-dimensional, multi-sensorial performative Topology of Touch, or a nonlineair haptic and tactile assembly of bodies and texts.



2,5 days Thessaloniki

2,5 days Barcelona

During the extensions we will team up with local artists/theorists and visit certain spots in order to deepen our research and making.


Open! Coop Academy participant profile

We would like to work with participants who are not only interested in the topic of touch, but also in experimental writing and publishing practices, and in reflecting on the changing conditions of the public sphere and public domain.


Literature & sources:

Hypatia Vourloumis, Ten Theses on Touch, https://www.academia.edu/9844560/Ten_Theses_on_Touch

Rizvana Bradley, Other Sensualities, https://www.womenandperformance.org/ampersand/rizvana-bradley-1

Fred Moten, The Haptic. A Playlist, https://www.womenandperformance.org/ampersand/ampersand-articles/the-haptic-a-playlist-by-fred-moten.html

Stefano Harney, Hapticality in the Undercommons, or From Operations Management to Black Ops, https://www.academia.edu/6934195/Hapticality_in_the_Undercommons_or_From_Operations_Management_to_Black_Ops

Harun Farocki, The Expression of Hands, 1997, video, 30 min., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MokRfl8VqWg

Yvonne Rainer, Hand Movie, film, 1966, 6 min., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcfSKwB-QpU

Valie Export, Touch Cinema, 1968, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGv7F_S-rYk

Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Light/Dark (performance, 1977), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKuDsFuV2lA

Erin Manning, Politics of Touch. Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minnesota Press, 2006)

Jean-Luc Nancy, On Touching, Sense and Mitsein, lecture, 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikyh2NaY4hU

Fiona Candlin, Art, museums and touch (Manchester University Press, 2010)

Steven Connor, Edison’s Teeth. Touching Hearing, http://stevenconnor.com/edsteeth.html

Laura U. Marks, Touch, Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media,(University of Minnesota Press, 2002)

Mark Paterson, The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects and Technologies (Berg, 2007)

Constance Classen, The Deepest Sense. A Cultural History of Touch (Univerity of Illinois Press, 2012)

Michel Serres, The Five Senses, A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies


Francesca Bacci and David Melcher (Editors), Art and the Senses (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Sara Danius, The Senses of Modernism. Technology, Perception, and Aesthetics (Cornell University Press, 2002)

Darian Leader, Hands. What We Do With Them And Why, (Penguin, 2016)

Michel Serres, De Wereld onder de Duim. Lofzang op de Internetgeneratie, (Boom, 2014)

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1932)

1 From Stefano Harney / Fred Moten, The Undercommons, p. 105


About Open!


Open! is an online international publishing platform that fosters and disseminates experimental knowledge on art, culture and the public domain. It is the digital continuation of the printed journal Open. Cahier on Art & the Public Domain (2004-2012). Open! explores the changing conditions of the public domain and new viewpoints on publicness from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives within art and theory. The platform reflects on our current notions of the commons, ownership and power relationships, and explores the consequences of privatization, mediatization and globalization processes on our social and cultural practices. Open! works with theorists, artists and designers who contribute to the creation of an experimental and critical body of thought within a globalized digital knowledge space. The site wants to offer a living archive and an inspirational knowledge environment for publishing, researching and reading online. It addresses a global community of peers: artists, theorists and researchers, curators, art and theory students, and activists.