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13 - Device Art: Touchy

Touchy, the human camera, is an artistic social experiment created by new media device artist Eric Siu. The Tokyo-based artist created Touchy to explore the idea of using technology to enhance human relationships. Worn as a helmet, Touchy’s ‘eyes’ (in the form of camera shutters) stay closed, preventing the wearer from seeing the world around them. Only when someone touches the person wearing Touchy do the ‘eyes’ automatically open, and in doing so they take a digital photograph from Touchy’s viewpoint, which is displayed on the rear of the helmet.

The AVL Cultural Foundation invited Siu to bring Touchy to Graz, Austria. A performance of this social exploration of technology and human contact was then unleashed on a very willing audience.

Japan’s relationship with technology goes to the heart of its culture, and the marriage of art of science is nothing new there. Touchy brings together art, design, science, and entertainment to pose questions about human interaction, the power of togetherness and the importance of giving and receiving, against a backdrop of humanity and technology. And it does it with a sense a fun.

Eric Siu’s work earned him first prize at the 15th International Media Art Biennale, and was exhibited as a special project at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. It has been featured on the Discovery Channel, in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post and on The Creators Project.

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