This project consisted of a series of haptic experiments with sensing the city as visiting researcher at SenseLab (Concordia University, Montreal) and the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry (University of Edinburgh). GoPro cameras were placed inside large balloons as inflatable membranes that render a sense of overflight and embryonic envelopment as they connect the surfaces of urban bodies and environments. Qualities of care and tactile handling of the balloons altered the potentials for making contact on the surface. Light, colour, sound, tone, and form became elemental conditions for surfacing images from inside the embryonic surface. The images produced were infra-tactile, rendering a distinctly haptic vision. The balloon-GoPro assemblage became a body that produces and maps sensibility outside the bandwidth of human perception. The images it renders are only a trace of the haptic sensation of its flight. But this trace is from the inside (as intensification), rather than the outside (as documentation). Oddly, through a topological twist, the experiment renders an intensive mapping of how “we” sense the surface touching “us”.
David Rousell (Creative Agency, RMIT; Manifold Lab, MMU)