‘Contact‘ is an inter-sensory display that invites the audience to explore four objects, travel in time and reflect on the creative power of the human hand. The work celebrates the pleasure of finding things out with our bare hands inside the institutional context of the museum. The intervention took place at the Masters of Sculpture room, at Museum M van Leuven, Belgium, from  January 24th to 31st and May 2nd-5th, 2018.

‘Contact’ proposes a parallel journey into the old masters’ studio, by engaging visitors in a performative conversation with artifacts and tools. The audience is invited to hold the objects while listening to speculative historical accounts and develop a personal choreography with them. By being offered to touch and smell, the public may create a deeper connection with the Past, imagining stories lived by the artifacts. The experience evokes a sensory time-lapse between then and now.

If the evolution of mankind is analogous to the evolution of the tools, isn’t the human hand its glorious protagonist? ‘Contact’ celebrates craftsmanship, both in the past and in the present, juxtaposing raw materials, handcrafted objects, and computer-aided-sculpture works without a particular hierarchy. This tactile collection opens a debate on the status of the art object, their historical and aesthetic values within the museum setting. Are these artifacts original? How old are they? What is the value of an art object?

Inspired by the sublime encounter with ritualistic images of the Old Masters’ room and reconnected with the act of making them, visitors may become aware of their own skills, vitality and potential. The often taken for granted power to articulate movement and gesture, to transform and to give meaning to the environment where we live.

Audio interface developed by Rob Bothof. This research project, Symphony @ the Museum, was an joint venture between M van Leuven, PXL-MAD School Hasselt and Haystack – and it was one of the winners of MindGate cross-over contest for the city of Leuven 2018.

Thanks to Rob Bothof, Petra van der Schoot, Peter de Cupere, Tom de Weyer (Makerspace/UHAsselt).

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January 4, 2018