Tactile Resonance in Art (2014)

Arild Berg

About this exposition

Materiality concerns the relationship between humans and the physical world. This study explores the relationship between materiality and material-based art through an art project created together with nurses working in a ward for elderly patients in a mental health care facility. In this study, the material physicality activated the bodily senses and unlocked the memories of the participants. The materialization of the art objects was related to communication both in art-based research methods and in the hospital practice by contributing in a special way to the dialogue with sensory presence and tactile resonance.

Materialitet rör förhållandet mellan människan och den fysiska världen. Denna studie undersöker relationen mellan materialitet och materialbaserad konst genom ett konstprojekt skapat tillsammans med sjuksköterskor som arbetar på en vårdavdelning för äldre patienter på ett mental vårdinrättning. I denna studie aktiverade materialet det fysiska, de kroppsliga avkänningar och det aktiverade deltakarnas minnen. Materialisering av konstobjekten var relaterad till kommunikation i konstbaserade forskningsmetoder och i sjukhuspraktiken genom att tillföra på ett speciellt sätt till dialog med sensorisk närvaro och taktil resonans.
typeresearch exposition
last modified13/10/2014
affiliationAalto University, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
published inRuukku Studies in Artistic Research
portal issue2.
connected toRuukku Studies in Artistic Research

Ruukku portal comments: 2
nimetön/anonym/anonymous 13/10/2014 at 15:18

The aim of the exposition – creating new spaces for communication through participatory art processes with staff and patients – is extremely interesting. Materiality has particular significance in the care context, especially in the lives of people with cognitive decline or difficulties in communication. The artwork presented in the exposition has great potential in various artistic, practical and theoretical contexts.

This exposition is deeply rooted in artistic practice. Possibilities provided by Research Catalogue to present high quality artwork as photographs and videos are well exploited in the exposition. Based on the material provided in the exposition, the process of co-creation with staff and patients, as well as the outcomes of the artistic work are of high quality.

The exposition discusses and reflects materiality in a participatory artistic process in a way that expands current academic discourses within the artistic research community, cultural gerontology and medical sociology.

The work also has wider significance as it invites people who often are excluded from the society to take part in social activities. In my experience, there is an urgent need for new methods for facilitating communication in the context of care. This kind of artwork and research has great potential in enhancing agency and wellbeing of people in need of care.

When working with people in need of care one has to be especially careful with ethical issues. In this case, the author does not provide any visual material that would present the people taking part in the participatory art process. I see this choice as ethically biased: a safe way to deal with anonymity issues, but diminishing possibilities of the participants for agency. In the future projects and expositions, I encourage making the voice of patients and carers more active.

nimetön/anonym/anonymous 13/10/2014 at 15:25

The article by Arild Berg is solidly anchored into a discussion about contemporary art and a conceptual aspect of craft and traditional techniques in the field of contemporary art. The author is well informed about recent research and discussion about art-based research. He has an interesting approach to public art and includes people, organizations and political plans in public spaces. His perspective on artist work is participatory and he sees a work of art as communicative phenomena in hospital environment. Artist is not alone, but works in collaborations with his public.


There is an interesting connection between materiality and conceptualization throughout the article. The author has a wide view on material-based art and makes a connection between art and research in a natural way speaking out from an artist perspective. The submission is interesting and opens relatively new insights into concept of public art in nursing environment. Art works in Berg’s case study function in an interesting area of borderline between being art objects, instruments for interaction, representatives for material-based art and / or examples of applied visual art in the context of nursing environment.

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