Naomi Eller

Haptics: Making touch visible.

Masters (by research) candidate

  • Naomi Eller


Image: Naomi Eller, Single-hole weight…plugged (installation detail), 2017, various clays, wax and rope, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Throughout my practice I consider the temptation to touch an artwork. We normally can’t touch artworks in a gallery or museum context, but the perception of touch, especially when viewing sculpture in which touch is generally discouraged, relies on sight as the primary mode of transmitting knowledge of the medium used by the artist.

This thesis considers this strong psychological sensation – when sight becomes tactile – as ‘haptic’, defining hapticity as a kind of enveloping in which an artwork creates a circuit of dialogue between the object, viewer and maker: a circuit in which sight and touch unite.

As an artist, this union of sight and touch lies for me at the heart of the experience of making an artwork: the haptic experience of the artwork – the experience of its tactile exteriority, of the skin of the work – enables the viewer to experience the artwork in an embodied way.

This research explores the epistemology of sight and touch, and the role hapticity plays in transcending the tactile nature of materials in a space of reciprocity between the making and viewing of sculptural artworks.