MFA Computational Arts Blog Week 14

We engaged with the idea of touch and hapticity. I’m struggling for time so following are my notes and then my individual project proposal for theory. You can see how I attempt to capture and break down what goes on through lectures:

Touch as something that the pandemic has put into question. From physical contact to intimacy. Intimacy as the danger one for the AIDS epidemic

Haptic technology turns the immediacy of distance for touch into something that can occur at a distance.

Tesla suit, narrows down what touch may be presents it as “This is what touch is”

What kind of subject is represented by haptic technologies?

Touch is mutiplural, it is something that collaborates and supports the data we get from vision.

Haptics aims to problematise the field of touch as the epistemic framework that can be translated for the machine.

David Parisi

To be presented by technology, touch must become a technoscientific object

Touch must be translated into information that must then circulate, so an abstraction has to occur.

Talks of the five phases of interfaces.

When touch becomes an instrument of science and engineering, it absorbs the ideology of its time. Touch after being appropriated by the machine.

In order to make touch computable, the subject had been divided to become measurable by the machine. This is then sold as a wonderful achievement, and now its spectacularity is exhausted, a new narrative calls for us to rejoin the various haptic aspects into one unified haptic subject.

Tron as visiting a space that is purely data.

The haptic subject is a translation. Going towards an idealisation of what the subject should be. The subject that is made felt for the machine and feels through the machine exists at the intersection of institutional, scursive, social and technical relations.

Calculable, monetizable, quantifiable as sides of the same coin

Apparatus as something technical and its conceptual structure which captures us. Apparatus here is the idea that sense can be broken down into discrete measurable units such that it can be translated. Has the specificity of capturing desire.

Haptics interpretic by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa in Matters of Care

A form of contact that both means being caring but once close through touch, it obliges me not to be indifferent and requires consideration and care in the next action.

Touch is always embodied and non-neutral

Touch as skillful recognition of vulnerability

Specificity of one kind of touch produces diversity

Undermining the idea of an invulnerable, point of view of a master-subject agent, an ideal agent.

Touch as world-making (“a site of possibility” – Merleau-Ponty)

Moten and Harney

Logistics which begins with the movement of the first commodity in the slave trade,

Now is stretching to its ultimate possibility by commodifying humanity again.

All that remains in the dehumanised hold is the sense of feeling.

“…Feeling through others, a feel for feeling others feeling you”

The human made computable through hapticity is deprived all forms of humanity besides these non-

The collapsed state where there is no longer a distinction between bodies. A common.

Lygia Clark

Nicola Lanzenberg

Technology is led by pain and porn.

The conspurators of Pleasure

Yuk hui thinker

Cannibal metaphysics

De Andrade antropofago manifesto

Robin Leverton Individual Project Proposal

I will research concepts of commoning and its application to food production in a developed urbanised society, exploring also sensing practices and urban farming.

Food poverty in the UK is on the rise, with an estimated 4.7 million people living in severely food insecure homes in 2016 (“Food Waste And Hunger In The UK” 2022). In April 2020, the Guardian reported that 1.5 million people had gone a whole day without eating in the first month of the pandemic due to poverty or lack of access to food (“UK Hunger Crisis: 1.5M People Go Whole Day Without Food” 2022). This goes hand in hand with a rise in the use of food banks over the first two decades of the century and particularly since the beginning of the period of austerity under Conservative Government rule since 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The Trussell Trust has reported a 128% increase in the number of emergency parcels distributed per year over the last 5 years (Trussell Trust, 2021). Obversely, is the understanding that the UK wastes approximately 2 million tonnes of edible food each year 4, enough to feed over a million people. This is a socio-economic issue, not one of productivity.

Yet with regards to Britain’s place in the struggle against climate change, and its resilience to disruptions in food supply chains, Britain, as an island without an overabundance of farmland and a highly urbanised population, only produces about 55% of the food it consumes (“Food Statistics In Your Pocket: Global And UK Supply” 2022). Disruptions to imported goods would likely lead to significant cost increases and as such have major and wide-sweeping impacts on the millions suffering from or hovering just above food poverty.

The commons are an idea with a written history of over a thousand years in Britain. It is also a set of values that have been under attack for the entirety of this history. Professor David Harvey suggests a definition of the commons as a set of relations: “The common is not to be construed, therefore, as a particular kind of thing, asset or even social process, but as an unstable and malleable social relation between a particular self-defined social group and those aspects of its actually existing or yet-to-be-created social and/or physical environment deemed crucial to its life and livelihood.” (Harvey, n.d.)

It is through these relations I would like to explore the issue of hunger facing the UK. The idea that food itself might be addressed as a common rather than commodity, as is suggested by Jose Luis Vivero Pol (Bollier 2022), where societal need and sustainability make decisions on agricultural planning, rather than solely the profit seeking market, with occasional abatement by government.

Turner Nominated Cooking Sections are a collective that engages with the topic of sustainable productivity.  Becoming CLIMAVORE, which “explores the gap between the appearance and the reality of salmon” (Pascual and Schwabe 2022), as an example evaluates the rift we have grown socially between ourselves and our food, through tracing the ethics of captivity, intense breeding and the various forms of pollution that are caused by fish farms.

The medium through which I shall explore this will be within the speculative technologies of urban farming. With many efficiency and productivity promises that suggest a transition away from heavily polluting traditional agricultural methods, there is certainly an allure. However, it is important to contextualise these promises with the demands of the societies they might supply. Those demands being more broad than simply the supply of food, but in its distribution, access, and ownership. And I would further like to postulate on the idea of cooperatively managed urbanised food production and its place within the political sphere, and how a wider, more direct engagement in the production of food would drive this.


Bollier, David. 2022. “Ose Luis Vivero Pol: Treating Food As Commons, Not Commodites”. Podcast. Frontiers Of Commoning.

Cockrall-King, Jennifer. 2012. Food And The City. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.

“Food Statistics In Your Pocket: Global And UK Supply”. 2022. GOV.UK.

Harvey, David. n.d. Rebel Cities.

“MANIFESTO — The Center For The Study Of The Force Majeure”. 2022. The Center For The Study Of The Force Majeure.

Odum, Howard T. 2001. Environment, Power And Society. New York: Wiley.

Ostrom, Elinor, and Christina Chang. 2012. The Future Of The Commons. London: Institute of Economic Affairs.

Pascual, Daniel Fernández, and Alon Schwabe. 2022. “Becoming CLIMAVORE – Cooking Sections”. Cooking-Sections.Com.

Pearson, Craig J. n.d. Urban Agriculture.

Standing, Guy. 2019. Plunder Of The Commons. [London]: Pelican, an imprint of Penguin Books.

The Schumacher Center for a New Economics, David Bollier. 2020. “Dave Jacke On Ecological Design And Abundance”. Podcast. Frontiers Of Commoning, With David Bollier.

Trussell Trust. 2021. Trusselltrust.Org.

“UK Hunger Crisis: 1.5M People Go Whole Day Without Food”. 2022. The Guardian.

Viljoen, André, Katrin Bohn, and Joe Howe. 2016. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Winstanley, Gerrard, and Tony Benn. 2011. Tony Benn Presents A Common Treasury. London: Verso.

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