Toucher refers to the physical act of touching and reflects upon the possibilities of developing haptic sensation in a digital environment. While the first physical act of reading a book is to touch it and turn the page, here the physical act of reading requires a mouse, microphone, helmet, and camera. In this sense, reading becomes truly multi-sensorial, since the reader is invited to caress, blow, and brush the work in order to make reading possible. Additionally, there is a section hidden within the menu that has to be found by "touching" the screen.


Author description: It may seem paradoxical to create an online work on touching. One cannot touch directly: in this case touching requires a mediating tool such as a mouse, a microphone or a webcam. This touching experience reveals a lot about the way we touch multimedia content on screen, and maybe also about the way we touch people and objects in everyday life. The internet user has access to five scenes (move, caress, hit, spread, blow), plus a sixth one (brush) dissimulated in the interface. She can thus experience various forms and modalities of touching: the erotic gesture of the caress with the mouse; the brutality of the click, like an aggressive stroke; touching as unveiling, staging the ambiguous relation between touching and being touched; touching as a trace that one can leave, as with a finger dipped in paint; and, touching from a distance with the voice, the eyes, or another part of the body. This supposedly immaterial work thus stages an aesthetics of materiality.

Instructions: Adobe Flash player or plug-in required. This work requires headphones, a microphone (for "blow") and a webcam (for "brush").

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

The Electronic Literature Lab could not preserve this Flash work with Ruffle in February 2021. We do plan to preserve it with Conifer at a later date.