LONDON, UK.- This June the V&A, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, opens a uniquely touchable contemporary design exhibition, Touch Me, which explores the pleasures and sensations of touch, looking at the designed world around us now and what the future holds.
What would it be like to squeeze a doorbell rather than press it? Or stroke the TV to turn it on? Would people rather kiss when they meet or shake hands? From site specific art and design commissions to games, live science experiments and a garden of the senses, Touch Me is both fun and thought-provoking as it looks at contemporary design products and installations that relate to our sense of touch.
The first section displays around 90 designs in a series of roomsets including a living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office and garden shed. In the kitchen are Julia Leihener's Thups, drinking glasses which rest on the thumb for the new 'thumb' generation of texters and computer gamers; Blackberry mobiles are in the office; Yoshi Saito's Hug chair is in the living room, a contemporary take on the traditional kissing seat which encourages people to hug each other when they sit down, and pleasurable sensations are in the bedroom - from silks to jewellery.
An interactive garden of the senses fills the second section of the exhibition where visitors can play games, take part in live science experiments and engage all their senses in an immersive sensory room. Visitors will be able to challenge each other to a game of 'chicken' on the Painstation, play table tennis with a difference on MIT Medialab's PingPongPlus or take part in a human-scale 'PacMan' game using Spacehoppers.
Touch Me features work by a diverse range of international furniture, product, fashion and interaction designers including Ron Arad + Inflate, Front Design, Hella Jongerius, IDEO, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Matali Crasset, Paul Cocksedge, Gitta Gschwendtner, Tokujin Yoshioka, Naomi Filmer and Shelley Fox. The exhibition also showcases a range of innovative designs for the future - from the Royal College of Art, Central Saints Martins, the Interaction Institute, Ivrea, and MIT Medialab.
Touch Me explores the social, scientific, emotional and personal aspects of how we relate through touch and raises a series of questions about the future. Do we live in a touch-starved society? Can 'virtual' touch interaction ever be a substitute for real touch? What are designers doing to improve the quality of how we touch and use products of all kinds? Can our sense of touch help us develop stronger emotional and social relationships with each other?
Curators of Touch Me - Touch Me is curated by Hugh Aldersey-Williams and Lauren Parker. Lauren Parker is a Curator of Contemporary Programmes at the V&A, specialising in new media and audio. She has curated several exhibitions and events programmes including the V&A's first ever audio exhibition, Shhh* (V&A, 2004). She is the author of Interplay: Interactive Design (V&A Publication, 2004). Hugh Aldersey-Williams is a freelance writer and curator with interests in science, design and architecture. He curated Zoomorphic: New Animal Architecture at the V&A in 2003. His most recent book is Findings: Hidden Stories in First-hand Accounts of Scientific Discovery.