MetaTouch, tactile metaverses


Looking around, one has the feeling that the era of real awareness of the importance of balance between mind and body is still immature. In a historical moment in which our senses are extremely overloaded, the group of artists and researchers composed of Xiyan Chen, Sherry Yang and Yilei Guo, thanks to the virtual reality installation MetaTouch, opens the debate on the need to develop a new pedagogy that is able to accompany our body towards different dimensions. In the possible context of the metaverse, in fact, our brain should be pushed to adapt to experiencing virtual reality as plausible in the absence of physical feedback and in particular tactile experiences. A new Plato’s cave within which interpersonal relationships could be conditioned by a reduced capacity for empathy, born from the lack of the sense of touch and more generally of the important immediacy of physicality. By interacting with the installation which is presented to the public as a white cabinet of curiosities, visitors are asked to live different tactile experiences by wearing hand movement modules and a virtual reality viewer. By exploring the drawers and shelves, touching the different materials of which the work is made, from the cardboard woven into rough and regular grids in which to fit the fingers to the soft and round knobs to caress, one accesses an experience where the virtual and the real integrates and feeds a story. By mapping and studying this network of actions and reactions, MetaTouch allows us to enhance our physical perception of the world through a strategic capture of sight, making us experience how the disconnection of the two dimensions experienced at the same time can teach us the integration of perceptions on different levels. Benedetta Sabatini


Xiyan Chen, Sherry Yang and Yilei Guo – MetaTouch