TOUCH is a small physical exhibition project. It aims to explore the tactile ability, tactile memory, and tactile perception of different individuals. It also explores methods of creating an inclusive and interactive exhibition that regards touch as the primary sense and vision as the secondary.

The exhibition is composed of white texts, objects, and sculptures, forming a seemingly invisible space. Various materials and textures are attached to the surface of these white objects to stimulate the visitor’s tactile perception and memory.

The design of this exhibition is based on two preliminary research experiments: Taxonomy of Touch and Tactility of Everyday Objects.

▹  How to change the dominant role of vision and make touch the primary sense in design?

▹  How to bring people back to the physical world in the post pandemic period?

Exhibition Interiors

Exhibition Structure 

Visiting Procedure

Section 1: Sanitize | Touch | Listen

At the beginning of the exhibition, visitors need to clean their hands with portable hand sanitizers. Then they will read the exhibition introduction on the wall with their hands. There is a plaster replica of my hand under the text; visitors can shake the hand as a way to respond to the current pandemic, and the fact that we are not able to shake each other’s hands.

By pressing a white button on the wall, the exhibition information is also accessible through audio recordings.

Visitors can also wear disposable eye masks to experience this exhibition. 

Section 2: Touch | Think | Interact

The second part of the exhibition is about hand motions. There are eight verbs representing hand motions attached to the wall. The surface of these verbs consists of various materials and textures, such as wax, PVA glue, fur, and plastic.

Visitors need to select one verb and express their understanding of the word by interacting with a block of clay.

Section 3: Touch | Find | Memorize

In the last section of the exhibition, visitors are asked to touch the surface textures of some everyday objects, and then walk to a dodecahedron sculpture and use stickers to indicate which textures on the sculpture are consistent with the objects they have just touched.

The surface textures of the dodecahedron and selected objects are based on the experiment: Tactility of Everyday Objects.

Surface design of the dodecahedron, based on pencil rubbings of different objects

Interview and Documentation

Observe | Understand | Apply

In this project, visitors are not only observers, but also the observed. When they finished visiting,  I conducted a brief interview with each participant to understand their thoughts and feedback on each section. 

After that, I numbered every block of clay based on the experiment: Taxonomy of Touch.

At the end of the exhibition, I used lightning powder and a fiberglass fingerprint brush to reveal the areas touched by visitors and document the traces of hand interactions.

Design Process
3D Modeling and Rendering

Making Process 

Material Experimentations for Tactile Experiences

Experiments using physical materials and the making methodology are very crucial to my research. The following contents and images will demonstrate how I explored the creation of different tactile experiences through various materials and making skills.

Wall Texts
Materials: laser-cut chipboards, white acrylic paint, and PVA glue.

Materials: chipboards, white acrylic paint, white furs, 3D printing pen, plastic, wool, and PVA glue.

▷ Round1: chipboards, natural soy wax, a pouring pot, and spoon;
▷ Round2: chipboards, white wax beads, a pouring pot, hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, silicone molding liquid, and spoon.

Dodecahedron Sculpture—Skeleton
Materials: white chipboards (thickness 0.02’’), steel ruler, pencil, cutting knife, sticky tape, and acrylic paint.

Dodecahedron Sculpture—Pentagon Surface Textures
Materials: laser-cut acrylic boards, watercolor paper, pencil, PVA glue, and needle.

Tactile Labels 
Materials: white acrylic boards, silicone rubber liquid, sticky tape, cutting knife, and a plastic syringe.

Plaster Hand 
Materials: molding powder, casting powder, gloves, sandpaper, a reusable bucket, measuring cup, bowl, and stirrer.

©Bonnie Zhou. All rights reserved.