Drawing by touching

Week 3 brief:

“Choose the features of your own subjective reality. Engage critically with the possibility of the widespread adoption of your own personalised sensorium. Consider a desirable or a probable form of perceptual augmentation”

my response:

  • I couldn’t invent something new as
  • I was struggling with the idea that I have to create something technological
  • after having a long thinking, I came up with the idea that it will all come to me from the opposite side: instead of enhancing one of our senses, take away one!
  • I chose vision as it’s the main sense we use today
  • the idea was to draw several objects by touching them, using only the tactile sense
  • one rule is to be given objects I’m not familiar with, as this would relate to either memories/emotions/events and this way I would recognise the object

By experiencing only with the tactile sense, everything becomes shape and texture. One rule I had to follow is to ask people give me objects I’m not familiar with, as the experiment could be more effective – this way I wouldn’t relate to any memories or background information.

Further questioning about this experiment is how blind people experience stuff – the ones that were born blind – and how they translate/transfer this information to their brains. I came up with a starting point of an invention idea, a sort of hands-like-scanner thing, that could ‘scan’ objects and the world around them, and a chip-kind-of-thing inserted in their hands including all the information you get from touching stuff (shape, texture etc) and transfer them to their brains as images. As this seemed really complicated to me, and not one of the things I do, I concentrated on this experiment, discovered (something obvious) that understanding the world around us is a process of combining the senses. Taking out the visual you loose the scale of the objects and you get in a whole different mentality.

Drawing by touching from Savvas Zinonos on Vimeo.


I didn’t get much feedback to be honest, people were laughing and I think that’s a good sign – I think. I also gave to the group the actual drawings and they found interesting the freedom of the lines – usually we draw consciously.

Another interesting aspect was that in the film I reorganise the stack of papers all the time, that raises questions like, where is the end of the paper, the frame and the frame of the projection? – as I was blind, how could I define these?

I was encouraged to use two objects at the same time, or maybe use the same paper for more objects.

One idea it was raised it was to make the drawing blindfold, then take away the object without seeing it, open my eyes and try to redraw the object from my memory

I had some fun with this brief, and I think I should adopt this way of working for all the upcoming briefs as I had a really tough time since the beginning of the term! I also had the idea of making large scale drawings and use different media.


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