This project is a phenomenological social interaction experiment that focuses on the relationship of giving and receiving by literally transforming a human into a camera. Touchy, (the person wearing the device) is blind most of the time until you touch his/her skin. Once vision is given to Touchy, he/she can take photos for you. This human camera, with its unique properties, aims at healing social anxiety by creating joyful interactions.
To make possible a human camera, the artist transposes the functions of a camera to a wearable helmet device comprising of a pair of automated shutters, a functioning camera and an interactive screen. The shutters are used to blind Touchy: only your touch will activate their opening and allow Touchy to see. When a human contact is maintained for 10 seconds, the front facing camera captures an image, which is displayed on the back facing screen for the user to access. Metaphorically, Touchy lives in an isolating cage built by the experience of total darkness, as if he is encountering the same sensuous withdrawal as some social disorder patients have. Your effortless touch is an action of giving vision and taking photos, which heals the anxiety and generates a playful interaction that invites people to have fun and reinterprets the way we use cameras.
Touchy hybridizes the roles of human and camera by unifying their respective capabilities, which requires the user to consider the affordances of both ends: body and machine. What is particularly phenomenal about the Touchy experience is that it fundamentally challenges one’s notion of proximity because the interaction is reduced to the threshold of skin contact. On certain occasions, this experience is heightened by direct eye contact: a snapshot action reveals bear eyes behind the Touchy device. What used to be a common mechanical process is now a transcending psychological connection that gives all its meaning to the expression: “the eyes are the window of the soul.”Isn’t it a lyrical irony that gazing into another’s eyes for 10 seconds gives life to your self-portrait?