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Haptic Visuality (Laura U. Marks’s Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media) Transliteracies Research Report

A concept developed by Laura U. Marks in the books The Skin of Film and Touch, haptic visuality refers to embodied spectatorship.

“Haptic criticism is a kind of criticism that assumes a tactile relation to one’s object — touching, more than looking. The notion of the haptic is sometimes used in art to refer to a lack of visual depth, so that the eye travels on the surface of an object rather than move into illusionistic depth. I prefer to describe haptic visuality as a kind of seeing that uses the eye like an organ of touch. Pre-Socratic philosophers thought of perception in terms of a contact between the perceived object and the person perceiving. Hence the haptic: looking, we touch the object with our eyes. This image might be a rather painful one, calling up raw, bruised eyeballs scraping against the brute stuff of the world. But I mean it to call up a way of seeing that does not posit a violent distance between the seer and the object, and hence cause pain when the two are brought together. In haptic visuality the contact can be as gentle as a caress.”

Starter Links: Mind the __GAP page on Laura U. Marks | Laura U. Marks’ article on Haptic Visuality in Framework: the Finnish Art Review”

Transliteracies Research ReportTransliteracies Research Report By Angus Forbes

  tl, 08.11.06

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