In a city where digital resources evolve through telecommunications, mobile apps, online maps, virtual and real meetings, someone may wonder where to look for the sensorial part of this experience. In what sphere, emotional, corporeal or mental, is the element that embodies the city’s experience to be found? Haptic City is a way of gamifying our everyday experience on a psychosomatic level, converting the action of reading a map to a sensorial experience that the public can synthesize and compose through tactile exploration and sound. With this work we would like to raise the awareness of our surroundings and focus on the city as a psychosomatic experience.

Haptic City is a mixed media installation designed to be exhibited in a public space. Haptic City is a simulacrum, a sign without a referent. It’s a haptic map embroidered on a fabric where various electric currents, actuators and components reside, waiting to be triggered by the exploration of the public. The idea behind Haptic City is based on Virilio’s thesis, that the aesthetics of an era fascinated by speed and light is located in the lost moments of our everyday life.

The piece was initiated at a workshop that took place on January 26-27 in Athens and continued in the form of a DIWO (Do-It-With-Others) and DIT (Do-It-Together) collective project that undertook the creation of embroidered interactive maps of the city of Athens. The participants engaged in the process of prototyping and building DIY electronics on textiles using various components – such as LEDs, resistors, sensors, buttons, buzzers, and conductive materials, in order to learn how to trigger a primitive digital soundscape. They were handed a printed part of the city map and taught how to create an interactive sound pattern, acquiring skills in programming, physical interaction design and sound experimentation. Through the creation of this embroidered map, the participants became familiar with the concepts of electronic textiles and soft-circuits, and their use in art and design.

Haptic City is collaborative project between Afroditi Psarra and Artemis Papageorgiou.

Participants: Aggeliki Bakogianni, Katerina Zamzara, Athina Aggelopoulou, Nikos Eythimiadis, Alexandros Drumonitis, Marika Kostantinidou.

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