Last month I gave a talk at ‘Media in the Wild‘, the Annual Conference of the Collaborative Research Center Media of Cooperation, University of Siegen in Germany. Thoroughly enjoyed it, with papers by Arjun Appadurai (NYU) and William Urrichio (MIT). Abstract of the paper I gave:
Why Haptic Media Studies?
The ‘haptic moment’ we were waiting for since the tail end of the twentieth century never quite arrived. Perhaps we expected something like Rheingold’s “tactile realism” (1991), but in the meantime something more profound has emerged. This is not the moment as a singular event of transformation, but rather the definition from physics of an applied pressure from a distance, a slow unfolding, in the wake of a distinct series of technological changes. The more advanced technological changes have mostly gone under the radar of media scholars, as they occur in specialized areas of engineering, healthcare and robotics. Yet, even in the everyday realm of consumer technologies, numerous incremental changes have blinded us to the cumulative materializations of haptic habit, shifts in the patterning of haptic practices. This talk is a celebration of the slow unfolding, and of the possibilities it affords for studying the changing materiality of tactile relationships to mediation systems.