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Tactile, Haptic
Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College
ICA Boston
10.17.15, 12.5.15

We get to the gallery, do the goofy things we think to do, building the action of the body into our understanding of making. Haptic is often considered in terms of tactility, the sense of touch, but it also involves the proprioceptive sense, the generally unconscious sense of the body’s position in space. It’s how you can close your eyes and still touch your nose, or cross your fingers. Haptic is relevant to sculpture, painting and drawing, not just performance, dance and ceramics, as the show demonstrates.

Starting with Anni Albers’ loom, Mim Sihvonen’s Stool and Peter Voulkos’ Rocking Pot, we imagine the makers, how they might have moved, how they might have made and used the piece. We imagine what the person making the piece might have looked like as they were making it, and what it might have felt like to make. We “take the pose” of the maker and consider its relationship to the shape of the object, which we will attempt to recreate for our drawing partner later.

We look for our own favorite perspective on the object, noticing the effect of our viewing position on our reception of the work. We consider the work in relation to other viewers in the room, shifting our attention from objects to viewers, and back, playing with the figure/ground of work/viewing.

We take the elevator to the spacious lobby to enact what we gathered of the objects in the show upstairs. Pose from memory and draw from life.