Koak, To Think That Touch Is Feeling, 2020
“So here we are…I’ve made a show about the safety and negotiation of touch, at a moment when our daily routines around touch are rapidly and drastically shifting. When thinking about the exhibition, one of the questions I asked myself was ‘what constitutes a safe touch?’ That question, at least for the moment, now means something quite different than when I asked it.
Within a week of my show opening, the doors to the gallery were closed to the public due to concerns about physical proximity leading to contagion. Now we are one step further, having been mandated to avoid touch with others, and even limit the ways in which we touch ourselves. These events add a new layer to the questions I asked before—they also remind us of how important touch is to our daily lives and our sense of connection to other people. Right now we are being asked to think differently about touch, to expand it beyond the physical and to find deeper ways of connecting at a distance in the difficult moments that will follow.
Although the scale is in many ways unprecedented, this phenomenon is not new to us. Our most intimate forms of connection have been challenged by viruses in the past. When we get through this, one of the things we’ll celebrate is our ability to touch—hopefully without the presence of fear—but perhaps always with a new sense of caution. When we are able to hug and hold and be physically present with the ones we love, touch will continue to be complicated in the ways it has always been complicated, but my hope is that we will have learned new levels of intimacy to keep one another near.”
Koak, A Splintered Thorn, 2020
Return to Feeling
March 5 – April 18, 2020
For documentation, visit the exhibition page on our site.