Milieux on the Road: “Haptic Field” Opens at Wiener Festwochen in Vienna

We navigate and map our bodies’ physical boundaries with the sense of touch. How is that map transformed when we blur the lines between touch, sight and sound? Milieux Speculative Life cluster director Chris Salter and TeZ are bringing that question to three major European art festivals this summer with the participatory immersive installation, Haptic Field.

Haptic Field merges contemporary fashion, cutting edge wearable technologies and an exploration of the senses beyond sight by inviting the public to move through a series of large indoor spaces equipped with light, sound and smell augmentations. Visitors wear suits that are covered with custom designed sensors/actuators (“VibroPixels”) as well as a translucent visor which obscures vision almost entirely. They enter a continually shifting, hallucinatory, almost dream-like environment where nothing is what it seems. Vulnerable and blind, visitors are guided only by strange patterns of vibration travelling up and down the suit, and vague, shifting glimmers of light and darkness in the surrounding installation.

VibroPixel suits in the Haptic Field dressing room.

As the haptic potentials of augmented reality and tangible media leave science fiction for the consumer market, touch — whether natural or virtual in origin — finds itself in newly unchartered sensorial territories. Haptic Field sets the stage for experiential insights into one of our most under-explored senses –  touch – and creates a singular and uncanny physical experience of our senses stretching beyond the body’s boundaries.

Haptic Field runs at Wiener Festwochen 2017 in Vienna, Austria from June 15-18, and at Berliner Festspiele/Immersion in Berlin from June 31- August 5.

More on Haptic Field can be found here. 

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