TouchPoint, the first creative project of reFrame was a call for artistic works on what ‘touch’ has come to mean in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. A time when it is no longer the way in which we connect, but rather something we are compelled to avoid, fear as contaminated and potentially fatal? Ironically, social and physical distancing have created greater proximities within homes, families, and other spaces of the lockdown. How do we then experience ‘touch’ and its mutations on our own bodies, and those around us? As everyday interactions become subjects of strategy to maintain ‘safe distance’, the familiar and the normal are being rewritten. Yet, emerging value systems remain grounded in old practices and prejudice. The skin of the contagion, its body, texture and odour, all bear the face of the ‘other’. Un/touchable. Dis/connected. A/sympathetic.
The works in the TouchPoint Exhibition speak to multiple experiences and anxieties being experienced, the strange monotonies being borne, and diaries of disquiet and isolation being recorded, in overt and silent ways. The works evoke touch as intertwined memories, as nostalgia of an instinct that now must be controlled, as intimacies with loved ones and the self, of the personal and the political tied together in bodily experiences of hunger, longing and waiting, just waiting, for this moment to pass. Vignettes of strained physical interactions. Invisible communities scattered. The despair of labouring families desperately seeking home, while other homes desperately seek to keep the virus away. Touch as grabbing, acquisitive, violent assertions on lands and people. Touch forbidden across borders and boundaries. Touch as an organic phenomenon, as compassion, or even an artefact.
Each work in this Exhibition touches on the issue in a specific way, touches our hearts differently, and occasionally, even touches a raw nerve we can no longer protect from some truths.