Thigmotaxis (noun, biology)
• the motion or orientation of an organism in response to a touch stimulus.
The first form of perception — touch — goes all the way from reflex action to the conscious expression. By far the most common tactile ritual is greeting or farewell, and the actual form of the ritual varies with cultural norms.
Such rituals can be used to express approval and delight, where touch is a form of reward or joy, or it can be a sign of sorrow and empathy, a way to support or to calm down. Our ideas about the world, about the boundaries of our freedom and possible physical troubles and pleasures are formed from tactile communication.
The mythologization of physical cognition leads to the understanding of haptic experience as an exchange of energies. In the representation of magical thinking, with a certain external influence, the subject can submit to someone else’s will and the imposed limiting framework of control over his consciousness.
Rationalization and globalization did not displace, but created a space for hybridity of such a symbolic field: between the ancient, the ritual and the technical, contemporary, like soldering motherboards with wood resin. Biohacking, online prayers, the popularity of the technique of manifesting desires and appeal to crystals immerse their owner in a magical world, where his own hand becomes both a card of fate and an instrument for expressing action.
“haema fasi tines einai ten psychen”
(the soul is said to be blood)
Traditionally, an archaeological fact becomes a historical fact, for all the ephemerality of corporeality: flesh and blood disappear first of all the human, with them vanishes all he contained. Neural connections disintegrate, distinctive features and forms are erased. Boneless matter — the “mass” of the body — that once made it possible to feel the world through touch, evoking reflexes, moods and their expression — is the first to disappear.
The visualized fragility of the material calls to move away from the fixation on the ratio to the somatic forms, both tangible and shadows or voids.
Textile objects, pierced, cut, punctured, stretched, tied, stitched, promise the forgotten and the impossible, lost in digitalization, — touch, as an expression or the consequence of a feeling. Shadows or sparks from the reflective surfaces freeze around like an afterglow, leaving faded silhouettes.
The material call for the re-sensitization remains illusory, almost mythic — just as impossible as touch, forbidden by the formal relations with the exhibited art.