Haptic Field

Source: Chris Salter

Christopher Salter

Haptic Field , ongoing
Co-workers & Funding
Direction/Composition: Chris Salter + TeZ in collaboration with Ian Hattwick
Clothing Designed by JNBY (Designer Gong Dayong)
Technical Development: Input Devices and Music Interaction lab (IDMIL), McGill University
Technical Supervision: Marcelo Wanderley
Technical Direction: Ian Hattwick
Technical Development: Ivan Franco, Julian Neri, Alex Nieva, Patrick Ignoto and Louis Fournier
Management: Remco Schuubiers – DISK Agency, Berlin
Production: xmodal/Montreal + CAC
With the support of the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec - Societe et Culture + CA
  • Video Promo Haptic Field
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  • Installation View Haptic Field
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  • Installation View Haptic Field
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  • Installation View Haptic Field
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Description on chrissalter.com: What if we could feel on our bodies the presence of others at a distance? Haptic Field is a participatory multi-sensory installation merging contemporary fashion, wearable technology and an exploration of the senses beyond site. Employing garments especially designed and produced by the Chinese international fashion brand JNBY that visitors actually wear in order to experience the installation, Haptic Field creates a singular and uncanny physical experience, giving us the impression that our senses our stretched beyond the body’s boundaries.

With one’s ability to visually navigate and make sense of the world removed upon entering the installation, the entire CAC space is transformed into a continually shifting, hallucinatory, almost dream-like environment where nothing is what it seems and where one begins to experience other senses like touch, sound, proprioception, the experience of time and the invisible presence of others —senses that we normally ignore or forget about in our mainly visually dominated world.

In Haptic Field, up to twenty visitors can be accommodated at any point in time. Standing before a mirror, the visitors choose one of the garments and place them over their own clothing, while tightening the haptic devices to get them closer to the skin. Before they enter the space, they pull over the hood of the garment outfitted with a milky white lens that completely blurs and distorts their ability to see – rendering the entire visual sense into a blurry, non-defined field, as if walking through thick fog. Now partially blind, as they enter the enormous Chronus gallery space, the visitors plunge into an undefined, hallucinatory space of sound and blurred visual impressions. The continually changing visual, acoustic and haptic environment is partially scripted and partially influenced by the physical movement and actions of the participants. The gallery space is completely empty with the exception of a series of ropes strung chest high around the periphery of the room which assists visitors in finding their way out of the disorientating space.

From first impressions, the visitors may see small points of light emitted from other bodies or from small light sources in the environment itself; these luminous sources resemble fleeting, undefined forms, continually appearing and disappearing around one’s body and changing in color and intensity. The environment might be shimmering in a barely perceivable shade of blue, like a fluctuating sea of tiny stars or suddenly transform into blaring, violent red. Sometimes, the space is plunged into pitch-black darkness, slowing down one’s ability to move. At other times, the space comes alive with occasional bursts of blinding white light, like staring directly into the sun. Simultaneously, the acoustic and the haptic environment are also in continual transformation. The visitors might feel tiny pulses that match with the pulse of the lights in the space while sonic rhythms and textures seem to continually change the size and shape of the room. As they move through the gallery, we sense that different zones in the space produce different sensations, rhythms and patterns on the skin. Thus light, sound and touch become distributed among bodies – dynamically shifting back and forth, like an immense haptic field – a distributed field of touch.
  • aesthetics
    • acoustic
    • polysensory
  • genres
    • installations
      • interactive installations
  • subjects
    • Art and Science
      • light (energy)
    • Arts and Visual Culture
      • fashion
      • theater
    • Body and Psychology
      • bodies (animal components)
      • embodiment
      • movement
      • performativity
      • senses
Technology & Material
Custom Electronics; Computers; Atomic 3000 Strobes
DMX interface; Audio interface;
Custom Garments; Custom Vibrotactile Actuators