Touching-Feeling-Seeing-Thinking: From Making to Viewing and Back
This paper focuses on a book of collages made using found fabric samples. The works involve using small cut pieces of a fabric sample to make collages on other similar or identical fabrics. As a result, the artist’s interventions partially disappear into the pattern of each fabric. These collages are exhibited as a modified sample book that viewers can touch and look through. The paper juxtaposes the process of making these collages with the process of viewing them. I specifically address the role of touch, or a seeing-touching that Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari associate with a haptic space, in the making and viewing of the works. I argue that the works request the viewers to engage in attentive viewing—a kind of viewing that involves physical closeness and seeing-touching that unfolds over time. Thus, despite the partial imperceptibility of the artist’s interventions, the role of the haptic is foregrounded when viewing the works. Drawing upon the processes of making and viewing the works, I suggest that a practice of attentive viewing may open up a shared space between viewer and artist, thus shifting the relationships between viewer and artwork, and viewer and artist, beyond a subject/object distinction.