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V&A Museum invites visitors to Touch Me


Story: Jack Foley

THE V&A, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, is presenting a uniquely touchable contemporary design exhibition, Touch Me, which explores the pleasures and sensations of touch, looking at the designed world around us now and what the future holds.

The event runs from June 16 to August 29, 2005.

What would it be like to squeeze a doorbell rather than press it? Or stroke the TV to turn it on?

Would people rather kiss when they meet or shake hands?

From site specific art and design commissions to games, live science experiments and a garden of the senses, Touch Me is both fun and thought-provoking as it looks at contemporary design products and installations that relate to our sense of touch.

The first section displays around 90 designs in a series of roomsets including a living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office and garden shed.

In the kitchen are Julia Leihener's Thups, drinking glasses which rest on the thumb for the new 'thumb' generation of texters and computer gamers; BlackBerry mobiles are in the office; Yoshi Saito's Hug chair is in the living room, a contemporary take on the traditional kissing seat which encourages people to hug each other when they sit down, and pleasurable sensations are in the bedroom - from silks to sensual jewellery.

An interactive garden of the senses fills the second section of the exhibition where visitors can play games, take part in live science experiments and engage all their senses in an immersive sensory room.

Visitors will be able to challenge each other to a game of 'chicken' on the Painstation, play table tennis with a difference on MIT Medialab's PingPongPlus or take part in a human-scale 'PacMan' game using Spacehoppers.

Touch Me features work by a diverse range of international furniture, product, fashion and interaction designers including Hella Jongerius, IDEO, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Matali Crasset, Paul Cocksedge, Gitta Gschwendtner, Tokujin Yoshioka, Naomi Filmer and Shelley Fox.

The exhibition also showcases a range of innovative designs for the future - from the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and MIT Medialab.

Touch Me explores the social, scientific, emotional and personal aspects of how we relate through touch and raises a series of questions about the future.

Do we live in a touch-starved society? Can 'virtual' touch interaction ever be a substitute for real touch? What are designers doing to improve the quality of how we touch and use products of all kinds?

Can our sense of touch help us develop stronger emotional and social relationships with each other?

Buy tickets now!

V&A South Kensington
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2RL
0207 942 2000.

Opening times: 10am to 5.45pm daily (10am to 10pm Wednesdays and the last Friday of the month)

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