Skin Hunger: Experiments in (Safe) Touch

Nina Sarnelle & Selwa Sweidan

On the top of a hill, overlooking the city, join us for a playdate where we will safely (six-feet apart) engage in touch games and improvisations!

COVID-19 taught us to fear touch and move all of our interactions online… NOW WHAT? What is touch in the context of a year of selective, high stakes touching? What shifts when we read the body in kin, or the touch-body, through the lens of matter and making?

Skin Hunger: Experiments in (Safe) Touch is part of a collaboration titled TOUCH EXPERIMENTS which investigates touch via video conferencing media. Now we experiment to touch in-person at six-feet apart.

Through attention exercises, we’ll build awareness of how bodies exist in touch at every moment. Participants will explore touch with objects they’ve brought with them, as well as objects in the park (trees, grass) in ways that are comfortable and safe. Improvisational prompts and games will lead us toward shared touch experiences together—but all at a distance. 

Devised as a ritual in acknowledging the impacts of ‘touch hunger’ during the pandemic, the Skin Hunger: Experiments in (Safe) Touch workshop allows us to gather, make, and play with touch as social, somatic and artistic material. 

Find more information at the RSVP link.

This workshop is organized and facilitated by Nina Sarnelle and Selwa Sweidan in response to the NOW WHAT open call written by Anise S. Hines Theus, Daleen Saah, Jasmine Lin, and Joal Stein.

Nina Sarnelle is an artist and musician living on stolen Tongva/Kizh/Chumash land that is often referred to as Los Angeles. She earned a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012. A founding member of artist collectives the Institute for New Feeling and dadpranks, her work includes intimate participatory performances, large public events, music composition, video and sculpture.
Her work has been shown at New Museum (NY), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Hammer Museum (LA), Getty Center (LA), Ballroom Marfa (TX), MoMA (NY), Black Cube (Denver), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin), Museum of Art, Architecture & Technology (Lisbon), Fundacion PROA (Buenos Aires), Southern Exposure (San Francisco), Recess (NY), Mwoods (Beijing) and many others.

Selwa Sweidan is a media artist and researcher of emerging technologies. Her work probes technologically mediated ways of being/thinking through embodied, and collaborative approaches. Selwa has conducted foresight research across technology sectors and has co-curated exhibitions and symposia including Beyond Embodiment, Performative Computation, STACKED Expo, Super Radiance and Clustering. Her work has been published in the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Journal and the Design Research Society. Selwa’s work has been exhibited at Artificial Knowing, Bevilacqua Gallery, Center Du Pompidou, HomeLA, Spring/Break Los Angeles, and University Arts Gallery, UC Irvine. She was a “Collective Resident” at NAVEL, a postgraduate Fellow at ArtCenter College of Design, an Interactive Design Fellow at Fabrica, and was awarded “Best Overall” at the Microsoft Design Expo ’15.
Selwa has taught at Santa Monica College as a Design and Interaction Design Adjunct Professor, and at Loyola Marymount University as a Clinical Asst. Professor of Multimedia Arts. Selwa holds a BA from Smith College, an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design and is a PhD student in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California.