Landscapes do not possess any intrinsic perceptual qualities, these are generated by experience in living beings.
Touchscaping is an intra-active living sculpture, in which the artist interacts with a nest of earthworms. A system of sensors transfers the touch from this interaction into sound pulsation and visual animation. Touchscaping triggers a confrontation with the uncertain and the alien within us so that we can recognize the empathy, which is otherwise difficult to perceive due to our cultural context.
Touchscaping is an intra-active and living sculpture that expresses the potentiality of a contact between living beings in a landscape. In the vision field, there is the performer with a nest of earthworms. They are situated in the projection of an audiovisual landscape that generates itself in their intra-action through a system of sensors. The earthworms create tunnels, aerate the soil, loosen it up and enrich it with organic and mineral substances. The connection between bodies is established through touch that induces an altered state in them. She cannot touch the earthworms without them also touching her.
The touch forms a perception of the landscape. It is determined by biological senses, while their perception and evaluation is developed within cultural frameworks and personal experience. Touchscaping calls for a perception of the landscape that is based neither on objective nor on subjective sensing but on an intra-subjective comprehension that includes the perception of entities in the environment on a mutual level. The touching of the other on the one hand means to touch all that is otherness, but on the other hand, it is also a touching of what is alien within us. The potentiality of multiplicities that are inherent in that which is living emerges from the touch. There is no dividing line between the performer and the earthworms in the Touchscaping sculpture. Their intra-action does not contain cultural judgements; there is no room for disgust which would only be caused by the inability to face one’s own vulnerability.
The integral perception of the landscape prepares us, so that we are able to recognize our surroundings and our responsibility towards them. Through touch, our own indetermination is presented to us. When one faces the unclear and the inhuman in oneself, one can overcome the cultural, anthropocentric frame that prevents them from experiencing the world with empathy. The touch is an inward and outward openness as a part of the world in its becoming.
Saša Spačal, Slavko Glamočanin
Costume design: Vesna Mirtelj
Text: Ida Hiršenfelder, Saša Spačal
Production: Zavod Carnica with Zavod CONA
Partners: University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, Horticultural society Kranj, Prešeren Theater Kranj
Photos: Matic Zorman, Tadej Reissner
Project website: Touchscaping
Horticultural society Kranj, Kranj, Slovenia [May 2017]
Tivoli Greenhouse, Tivoli Gardens, University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia [May 2017]
Layeryeva hiša, Kranj, Slovenia [April 2017]