Haptic Taboo

It could be said that the increase of computational processing power has enabled images to be conceived as networks of relations rather than individual objects or pictures. Nonetheless, computation alone wasn’t a sufficient condition and had to be complemented by contexts rewarding movement and touch; contexts that had been historically denied to spectators. The taboo towards touch was largely enforced by images themselves, which, even in mixed media such as music videos, were chiefly meant to be seen and listened to. The fear of physical repercussions also feeds the anxiety surrounding touch; consequences that vision and listening cast off, or at least soften, by the acknowledgement of a medium thwarting direct contact. It comes as no surprise that scrolling devices appealing to our sense of touch were also an invitation to relieve ourselves from the burden of an exclusively theoretical —that is, visual— attitude towards the world. The desire of touch was also the yearning for immediacy, but counterintuitively, in order to quell those impulses, touch had to be cultivated and introduced to the realm of convention. To do so, the scroll has fashioned the barely developed haptic media into micromovements across smooth, vibrating surfaces.