29 September–18 November 2018
Opening: 28 September 2018

Event Series

neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin


Sarah Browne, Ruth Buchanan, Andrea Büttner, Cevdet Erek, Emma Haugh, Christin Kaiser, Robin Kirchner, Stephanie Kiwitt, Luise Marchand, Florian Meisenberg, Julien Prévieux, Barbara Proschak, Grazyna Roguski, Anike Joyce Sadiq, Maja Zimmermann


Fabian Bechtle, Melanie Bonajo, Nadja Buttendorf, Valie Export, Harun Farocki, Federica Fiore, Barbara Hammer, Imogen Heath, Fiona McGovern, Johanna Peine, Laure Prouvost, Yvonne Rainer, Lisa Steele

Project group

Bakri Bakhit, Nadja Quante, Thomas Rustemeyer, Anna Voswinckel, Maja Zimmermann

The exhibition centers on the meaning of touch in different contexts: as sensory perception, an expression of empathy, a physical assault, a healing technique, or a gesture in computer technology. On show are contemporary artistic positions that use touch to expose current contradictions in society.

The haptic—supposedly intimate—communication via sensory touch makes touch an essential part of our everyday lives. While this growing superficiality generates a desire for sensual stimulation that is now once again seeking fulfillment also in virtual forms of touch, human beings’ fundamental need to be physically touched is being met by a diversifying spectrum of “hands-on” body and healing practices. It is against the backdrop of these developments in society that the artists in the exhibition examine new forms of access to the body.

Negotiating issues of proximity and distance through touch reveals sociocultural attitudes and value systems. Although the sense of touch precedes the sense of sight, the Western world gives little thought to the potential of touch—as compared to that of the visual—as a source of knowledge. However, the question, primarily from queerfeminist perspectives, is whether the long-standing predominance of the visual realm is a consequence or a determinant of the patriarchal and colonial power structures established by the West over hundreds of years.

Friday, 28 September 2018, 19h
Opening of the exhibition
with the performative intervention »hosen« by Grazyna Roguski

Friday, 02 November 2018
Guided tour of the exhibition TOUCH with the curators

Event space 1st floor
Film Program I
»Forms – Indicating«
With works by Fabian Bechtle, Valie Export, Harun Farocki, Lisa Steele, Yvonne Rainer

Hands and what they make possible are the focus of this first part of the film program. By pointing our fingers or feeling objects, our hands relate to the world. If our hands touch, touched and touching come together. Whoever touches is involved. The series begins with the documentation of the TAP AND TOUCH CINEMA, which VALIE EXPORT carried through the streets of Vienna in 1968. In this exemplary work, the distanced voyeurism of the (male) gaze is juxtaposed with the publicly staged proximity of the tactile experience.

Saturday, 3 November 2018
Event space, 1st floor
Bodywork – Workshop I (DE/EN)

During this workshop we experience the relationship between intense sensation, breath, Oxytocin, and Endorphins. Using our breath, movement and connection devices, we want to enter an altered state of consciousness.
We explore how to increase Oxytocin levels in the body through conscious practices, relating to others. We play with the idea of love, sexuality, trust, and empowerment stored in our cells. Together we will create a safe space for you to explore boundaries and perhaps new territories.

Federica Fiore is an alternative healing artist, performance artist, dreamer and, mother. Since 2013 she runs the space tutgut – Zentrum für Bewegung und Heilkünste (Center for movement and healing arts) in Berlin. She combines her experience with conscious sexuality, healing processes, dance, and somatic work to research into the body´s potential of ecstasy and pleasure and is currently studying Midwifery at IbBg Vivantes, Berlin.

Exhibition space
Workshop (DE/EN)
»#HotPhones – high-tech self-care« by Nadja Buttendorf

In this workshop the artist Nadja Buttendorf teaches you how to get your phone hotter than yourself. A #HotPhone helps to release and relax your tightened muscles. The #HotPhone massage is a relaxing and deeply soothing form of massage. It is a helpful tool you can easily integrate in your daily life. Everyone is invited to take actively part in the community high-tech self-care. It makes you fit again and activates new energy for you and your smartphone.

Nadja Buttendorf (b. 1984) is a transdisciplinary visual artist based in Berlin. She is specialized in questions of cybernetic enhancements of the human body, alien speculative scenarios and posthuman jewellery. Buttendorf is a founding member of the Cyborgs e.V. Berlin and is known to have coined the term „Explants“.

Event space 1st floor
Film Program II
»Volatile Proximity«
With works by Melanie Bonajo, Barbara Hammer, Imogen Heath, Laure Prouvost

VOLATILE PROXIMITY the second part of the film program, refers to feminist video works that understand film as haptic material and bring into relation, in intimate and direct ways, the action in front of the camera, the filmmaker herself and the viewers. The avant-garde film “Dyketactics” (1974), in which Barbara Hammer visualizes her own lesbian identity, forms the historical frame of reference for the works that have been created in recent years. To conclude the program, the experimental documentary “Night Soil – Economy of Love” (2015) by Melanie Bonajo combines the sensual portrait of activist-feminist sex workers from Brooklyn with the artist’s own thoughts on contemporary forms of spirituality, gender roles and intimacy.

Exhibition space
Performance (EN)
»Sex in Public« by Emma Haugh

“This privatized sexual culture is what was called the love plot of intimacy and familiarization, a rite of blood as a psychic base for identification.
Enforcing boundaries between open spaces, commerce replacing state, making sex private by making bodies narrative and reproduction embedded things, sandwiched between chaos and order by a strong sense of public and private
Fantasy becomes banalised by ordinariness; the most intimate crevice now vibrates in the law.”
Script for SEX IN PUBLIC (2018)

Haugh re-appropiates text borrowed from gay men’s literature and collages it together with architectural drawings of domestic spaces as well as fragments of theory around sex in public to question the role of social space in shaping identity. In doing so, she proposes an alternate sexual narrative that considers non-domestic, analog forms of intimacy and touch.
[The Performance takes places within Haugh’s installation in the exhibition space.]

Exhibition space
Artist Talk (EN)
»Going Deeper – Visual Art, Technology and Queer Desire«
with Nadja Buttendorf, Emma Haugh, Imogen Heath, Fiona McGovern

In conversation with the artists Nadja Buttendorf, Emma Haugh and the film artist Imogen Heath, the art historian Fiona McGovern discusses various positions and strands of the accompanying program. Technological devices as part of a fetishized world of self-optimization, the shifting of the public into digital spaces and a documentary proximity to (queer) intimacy sought with the camera or explicit language form possible points of contact of the individual works. Questions will be posed concerning the desire emanating from objects and bodies, the position of the onlookers and the haptic and sensual qualities of the visual.

Sunday, 4 November 2018, 14h
Event space 1st floor
Bodywork – Workshop II (DE/EN)
»Touching Breath Bones Tissues« by Johanna Peine

What qualities of touch are there? What can touch do? This workshop uses elements from the Alexander Technique, Cranio-Sacral Technique, and other somatic methods to learn and explore what touch can be. The participants can sensitize themselves to the fine perception of touch and perceive materials, tissues, bones, muscles, rhythms or the breath. Starting with lying down, one’s own bodies are touched, one’s own hands are explored, with materials and finally worked together.

Johanna Peine is a singer and Alexander technical teacher with advanced training in various somatic methods such as craniosacral work, Feldenkrais, respiratory therapy, fascia work. She teaches u.a. at the UdK Berlin / Hochschulübergeifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin and at Ramba-Zamba (theater for people with disabilities).

Sunday, 18 November 2018, 16h
Guided tour of the exhibition TOUCH with the curators

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