Living in the age of information, we are challenged to process a stream of de-contextualized and simplified information. Crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic amplify how intense change can lead to overwhelmed and fearful individuals clinging to extreme positions, such as conspiracy theories. Even if these positions exist only in the margins, they can affect the lives of all inhabitants of a society. Conspiracy theories create solid protection from liquefying forces like uncertainty and ambiguity. They attract those who wish to find comfort in unquestioned truth; naturally, they will find alliance amongst those who believe the same. Wishing to protect our beliefs, we elevate our positions over those we entitle wrong. In the disparaging observation of others, nuanced examination falls flat.
To counter the rising polarization of extreme positions we need to find a state protecting us from the washing-away fluids and captivating solids. This state could be found by caring for our positions, examining hidden ingredients and reflecting on the context we are situated in. We will then be able to see what is behind the solids we condemn. With care, we will be able to connect differences and dissolve isolation; we will feel our in-between, and connect to the in-between of others. Do touch, care, connect.
Do Touch is an interactive installation that invited people to explore the nature of their positions through the medium of slime. A material in-between solid and fluid, slime can be formed and reformed, visualizing the pull back and reach out movement of communication and interaction, and of existent but mutable boundaries. Visitors explored what may or may not influence their positions, and, to quote a little boy mixing bravery and trust, “wrote their stories with slime.” The installation became a conversation initiator, fostering exchange between strangers, whether it was about slime making, or conspiracy theories, politics, and the Covid-19 pandemic.