In an increasingly screen-based world are we becoming touch hungry?
The sense of touch is the first of the senses to develop in the womb, arguably remaining the most emotionally central throughout our lives. Touch orients us to the world and connects us to each other. Touch and proprioception are essential for human health and happiness, both physical and mental. But in a world dominated by social media and digital technology our social tactile interactions become less and studies reveal that we are becoming ‘touch hungry’. In Touch (in development) is an immersive performance and installation exploring tactile memory and ‘touch hunger’.
Our current dramaturgy explores the trend in participatory, intimate and one to one theatre work in tandem with parallel developments in neuroscience on touch science. In their book In Touch with the Future neuroscientists Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence chart a reconnection and address of touch in science and note that, ‘…our society is becoming increasingly ‘touch hungry’ because of the reduction in social tactile interactions.’ (Gallace and Spence, 2014, 9) Over the last decade there has been a growing wave of interest in the field of neuroscience in the study of the sense of touch. In theatre and performance, we can chart this ‘touch hunger’ in a desire by artists to make and by audiences to experience performance wherein interactivity, intimacy and performative encounter is paramount.