"Digital finger: beyond phenomenological figures of touch" (17/02/2012)

Mika Elo
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DOI: 10.3402/jac.v4i0.14982 The article reflects on digitality and interface design in terms of the multiple senses of touch. Touching is presented as a “pathic” sense of being exposed, which implies that touching exceeds the tactile and even the phenomenal world. A particular focus is set on Aristotle's and Husserl's ways of thematizing the sense of touch. In this way, two extremes of the phenomenological thinking of touching are articulated: touching as an indistinct and heterogeneous constituent of sensitivity and touching as the guarantor of immediacy of the sense experience. Referring to Derrida's critical notes concerning haptocentrism, the article attempts to problematize the hand and the finger as phenomenological figures of touch and as holds of haptic realism. The article concludes that insofar as digital interface design aims at haptic realism it conceives of the sense of touch in terms of narcissistic feedback and thus tends to conceal the pathic moment of touching.
keywordsAristotle, Edmund Husserl, Jacques Derrida, digitality, interface design, touch
copyrightMika Elo, the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License
referenceDOI: 10.3402/jac.v4i0.14982
publisherJournal of Aesthetics and Culture