Touching Distance, installation view (Research Library), 2019. Courtesy of Exposed Arts Projects, 2018.

Positioning to be a research lab, Exposed Art Projects presents a new ongoing show questioning the tangibility of touching policy. Curated by Sasha Burkhanova-Khabadze, Touching Distance is divided into two parts — first, Experience of Touching (the practice); second, Tactile Archive (the theory).

1. Experience of Touching (practice)

Entry: the sculptural series by Terry Ryu Kim, Binaural Cabin Sounds, is folded into porthole windows and metal bases, reiterating the shape of the aircraft cabin in the mirror room. Reflecting, pastel-colored glass rhymes with the exhibition space oscillating between visibility and illusion. Binaural Cabin Sounds is a generated situation of strong tension that evokes those airborne feelings of increasing entropy we experience on board aircraft. The central sculpture of the group, unlike the others, is suspended from the ceiling without any dense base system. Difference is indicated; instead of a smooth glass surface, we encounter with pleats distorting the porthole. A barely noticeable violation in the details —wrinkled glass and fingerprints on the windows lead to a break: the distortion hints at disequilibrium. Touching Distance is shown on the scale of waking up anxiety through emotions shared by the viewer.

Touching Distance, installation view (Terry Ruy Kim), 2019. Courtesy of Exposed Arts Projects, 2018.

The next group of works includes Alyona Larionova’s documentary, Staying With the Trouble, and Sophia Al Maria’s Mothership, a video introducing a touch through the paradox of impossible relations between non-overlapping ontologies — namely, humans and animals. In both films, the equilibrium within the pairs is lost: the hunter from Staying With the Trouble is the figure of power in relation to the eagle, also as the mother of a fledgling chick is a source of its survival in the Mothership AI. A failed touch provokes a discrepancy between pairs — a growing crack, not only at an existential level as in Binaural Cabin Sounds but rather in relation to another. Proximity is impossible by the end.

Touching Distance, installation view (Alyona Larionova), 2019. Courtesy of Exposed Arts Projects, 2018.

2. Tactile Archive (theory)

Closing: the exhibition concludes with video documentation of a brilliant talk, On Touching: The Alterity Within by Karen Barad, talking about the practice of touching the self as an experience of touching another. On the table in the back room are folders with texts selected by artists for reading, among the authors — Donna Haraway, Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Seb Franklin, Marion Schulze, Samuel Gerald Collins. Like Aleksandr Rodchenko forging proletarian class culture in opposition to bourgeois tastes for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, Exposed Art Projects has developed its own alternative forge of intellectuals in contrast to the aesthetics of self-obsessed society in our late capitalism.

Touching Distance, installation view (Research Library), 2019. Courtesy of Exposed Arts Projects, 2018.