2020-2021 Catalog

MAC 271 Haptic Media: Play, Games, Visuality, and Creative Approaches to Communicating Touch at a Distance

“Haptic” is a word that describes the sense of touch, derived from a Greek root meaning to grasp, perceive, or fasten, and it has been used to describe technologies and aesthetics that communicate, or mediate, this tactile sense. We often think of touch as doing things with our hands, but touch actually affects all parts of the body, and plays a role in smell (particles entering the nose), sound (as vibration or a wave), taste (of the tongue touching), and even vision (through synesthesia or haptic visuality). However, in the current age of social distancing, many of us are feeling “touch starved,” and looking to digital media as a source of intimacy and community. How can we learn in this moment from haptic technologies, haptic aesthetics, and uses of these in video games, virtual reality, digital-physical art installations, and even early moving pictures? How can we communicate felt experiences as forms of unique knowledge? Drawing from video game studies, humor and gimmicks, feminist film theory, and Black feminist thought, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to questions of haptic media. Students will complete and give feedback on six short solo haptic pieces and one final collaborative project. The final aim of the course is an exhibition of student work accessible as a web-based virtual exhibition. 


8 units

Cross Listed Courses

COMP 271