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Experimental Design

Ozge Kayaaslan

Özge is a multidisciplinary designer with an Industrial Design background from Turkey. She engages her anthropocentric design background with an artistic approach to design unique experiences for the audiences. She includes the human body, mostly focusing on emotions and senses in her designs. She explores the potentials of engaging the physical and digital world on the subject of the senses and emotions with the support of her interest in psychology. Her interest in psychology and human senses enriches the idea of making the familiar subjects we have grown accustomed to in daily life, tangible and visible. She approaches this by making the audience experience common issues in alternative, unconventional ways. Through this, she aims to make the right questions appear in the audiences’ minds.

Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

Impacts of Touch is a participatory performance with a complimentary website to create social awareness about the unpleasant impacts of social touch. The project aims to show touchers what destructive impact their instant, volatile touch might create and encourage them to reconsider and be more careful about their actions in the future.

My research process started with the lack of touch, at first because of digitalization, but then progressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. My idea was to criticize the lack of touch in speculative futures. However, during the research, the people I had talked with, made me realize that touch is not only positive. There is also a negative aspect that we prefer not to see. Furthermore, some people mentioned that they are more comfortable now thanks to social distancing and the avoidance of touch (COVID-19 restrictions). Therefore, I focused on unpleasant touch with the urge to provoke, which is a concept we revisited many times over my 2 years of MA studies in IED. Unpleasant touch is a subject that many people know but do not talk about enough, pretending they do not notice it. With this project, I explore ways to make it more conspicuous.

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Normally, touch is an instant and invisible act that is supposed to end when the action stops. However, I had a chance to observe that those instant touches might leave deeper impacts on people than we may know or hear. This project focuses on the unpleasant social touch with a stranger or acquaintance. The performance’s main purpose is to attract attention. That is why the performance takes place at outdoor public spaces with participants who are passers-by strangers. Participants have to put a hand-mark by charcoal on the performer’s body which makes instant touch visible and tangible. Before or during the performance, there is no information about the main purpose of the project to maintain an honest reaction from the participants while they touch the performer. After participation, they would have to scan the QR code that directs them to the supporting website. The website opens with a striking question, followed by unpleasant touch stories.

Performances are also part of the research process to collect information because each time the location and participants will be different, so the outcomes will be unique.

While I was talking with people to collect stories, collaborators' comfort and privacy were one of the most important points for me. Most of the stories take place in outdoor public settings in mostly daily, casual moments hard to recognize by an outsider. I chose the stories that would be most familiar to people, so that the audience can experience some common ground, resonating with their own experiences. The main purpose is to show that even these kinds of small touches have the potential to create longer-lasting harsh impacts.

Secondly, when it comes to unpleasant touch, there should not be any distinction between people because there is no age, sex, gender, or culture that is not affected by this. Therefore, it was important to maintain diversity and balance when making story decisions and during shooting..

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Performance Outline
Instruction Table
Performance Scenes
Performance Scenes
Scan the QR Code after participation

Experimenting with different ways to give the idea “Your touch belongs to you, once you touch you can’t take it back”. The stamp is a quick way to leave a mark that reflects the "instant" touch.

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