Accueil >> Recherche >> Actualités >> Colloques - journées d'études


Touched: Transdisciplinary Perspectives (19th-21st centuries)

le 30 juin 2021


Launch of the TACT network (Touch, Arts, Affects)

OrganisationCaroline Pollentier

with the support of PRISMES - Langues, Textes, Arts et Cultures du Monde Anglophone - EA 4398

 Abstracts [PDF - 160 Ko]

 Bios [PDF - 128 Ko]

Keynote speaker: Mark Paterson (University of Pittsburgh)

This seminar proposes to explore the elusive experience of being touched from a transdisciplinary perspective. Touch and affect are entangled in the "metaphors we live by" (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, 1980). In revaluing experiences of tactility, haptic studies have detected "more affective and metaphorical forms" of "deep touch" across discourses, practices, and technologies (Mark Paterson, 2007). Recent research in neuroscience has alternatively identified affective touch as distinct behavioural and neural mechanisms ranging from social thermoregulation to stress regulation (India Morrison, 2016). Whether approached as a socially constructed metaphorical medium or as physical, biological, and neural phenomena, the sense of touch mobilises multiple affects and emotions.

The first goal of this seminar will be to interrogate these affective ecologies of touch across a range of disciplines and methodologies—literature, sociology, philosophy, linguistics, arts and media, neuroscience, robotics. How is one touched by a hand, a crowd, by literary texts, needles, films, digital images, and robots? How can artworks, like haptic media, convey the sensation of being touched from a distance, or "being touched as if from the inside," according to Toni Morrison, quoted by Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht? From mid-nineteenth century psycho-physiological experiments to the current pandemic, the experience of being touched, at once immediate and mediated, has not only taken on many forms, meanings, and resonances, but has also increasingly become a virtual mode of being-in-common.

The second goal of this seminar will be to revaluate the tactile and affective paradigm of passivity. According to J. J. Gibson’s canonical distinction between active touch and passive touch in "Observations on Active Touch" (1962), touch is passive when it is "receptive" and brought about by "some outside agency." Conversely, haptic sensing is defined by an emphasis on active touch, whereby "the sensory information a person receives does not come from just passive contact but from actively exploring the environment" (Lynette A. Jones, 2018). What happens to agency in the experience of affective touch? In Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity (2003), Eve Sedgwick coupled affect with texture within the framework of performative theory. Could pathos be reconsidered at the intersection of active and passive? This study day seeks to revalue the singularity and potentialities of passive touch, foregrounding the bidirectionality of touch of a way of rethinking categories of agency, action, and actant.

This study day will serve as the launch for the TACT network (Touch, Arts, Affects) which aims at leading transdisciplinary research on touch and haptics in the arts.


Maison de la Recherche, Salle du Conseil, 4 rue des Irlandais Paris 5e & Online

If you want to attend in person or online, please write to
the organiser.


8.30am: Welcome

9am-9.10am: Opening words

  • 9.10am-10.30am: Technologies

Chair: Antonio Somaini (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Rochelle Ackerley (CNRS)

Klemens Gruber (University of Vienna): How the Sense of Touch Came to the Bauhaus

Catherine Lanone (Sorbonne Nouvelle): Social Distancing and E.M. Forster’s Sense of Touch

Louise P. Kirsch (Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics): A Multidimensional Approach to Study Social Touch

/ 10.30am-10.45am: break /

  • 10.45-12.05pm: Languages

Chair: Bruno Poncharal (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Mirt Komel (University of Ljubljana): “Can a Poem Replace a Hug?”: The (Mate)Real of Touch

Caroline Pollentier (Sorbonne Nouvelle): Muthos, #Metoo, and Haptic Minds: The Narrative Configurations of Touch

Bertrand Vérine (Montpellier 3): "Est-ce que ça vous chatouille, ou est-ce que ça vous gratouille ?" Quelques apports de l’analyse du discours à l’étude des perceptions tactiles passives [“Does it Tickle or Does it Itch?”: A Contribution to the Discourse Analysis of Passive Perceptions of Touch]

/ 12.05pm-2pm: Lunch break /

  • 2pm-2.50pm: Communities

Chair : Alexandra Poulain (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Pierre-Louis Patoine (Sorbonne Nouvelle): Improper Touch: Ethics and Aesthetics of Sensationalist Film

Emma Bigé (Ecole Supérieure d’Art d’Aix-en-Provence): Touching is Falling. The Queer Haptics of Contact Improvisation

/ 2.50pm-3pm: break /

  • 3pm-4.20pm: Intimacies

Chair: Isabelle Alfandary (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Charles Lenay and Olivia Reaney (Université Technologique de Compiègne): Mutual Touch and Emotional Value

Irving Goh (National University of Singapore): The Intimate/Intimidating Touch of Affects

Rachel Aumiller (ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry): Between Isolation and Immersion: An Ethics of Caressing in the Dark

/ 4.20pm-4.35pm: break/

  • 4.35pm-5.25pm: Materials & Media

Chair: Charlotte Gould (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Dominique Peysson (visual artist): Responsive Materials and Contemporary Art. Artworks that Can Touch Us Deeply.

Wanda Strauven (Goethe University Frankfurt): Feedback (Pretend) Play

/ 5.25m-5.35pm: break /

  • 5.35pm-6.50pm: Keynote & Discussion

Mark Paterson (University of Pittsburgh): Social Touch and its Futures: Tales of Haptic and Affective Loops

Respondent: Catherine Pélachaud (CNRS, Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics)

  • 6.50pm-7pm: TACT (Touch, Arts, Affects): Further Perspectives

/ 7.30pm: Dinner /

Scientific Committee:
Irving Goh (National University of Singapore), Louise P. Kirsch (ISIR), Mark Paterson (Pittsburgh), Pierre-Louis Patoine (Sorbonne Nouvelle), Caroline Pollentier (Sorbonne Nouvelle)

Type :
Colloque / Journée d'étude
Lieu(x) :

Maison de la Recherche, Salle du Conseil
4 rue des Irlandais Paris 5e
& Online

mise à jour le 22 juin 2021