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Home > Culture and Society

TFT Goes To... The V&A

17 June 2005

'Try me,' say the exhibits at the V&A's new contemporary design show, 'Touch Me', which opened yesterday. 'Feel me,' they purr. 'Scratch me.'

'Touch me' is an exhibition dedicated to our most neglected sense. As you would expect from such a show, it is highly interactive and wholly sensual, with most of the exhibits focusing on how touch combines with the other senses. For example, there is a giant Pac Man game which you must play with your feet; a wall hanging which describes in Braille the 'sensation of yellow'; a thermochromic table and wallpaper which change colour on contact with the flesh of your wonderful body; a desktop video game which 'punishes faults with electric shocks, whiplashes and heatwaves on the left hand. Excessive playing can lead to burns, open wounds and circulatory disturbances.' Al excellent fun. Apart from the open wounds.

Then, as you wander through what is tantamount to a giant school science fair, you will receive the the following exhortations:

'Stroke your wrists and hands through the top of the grass to produce different fragrances.'

'Open the box and move your fingers through the pebbles.'

'Reach into these boxes. Each one contains an object of a common fetish or phobia.'

That kind of thing.

There is also something called a Hug Chair. Fashioned from industrial felt, the Hug Chair is described as 'a cocoon for one person. Alternatively, two people are brought together in closer intimacy.' Does that sound like fun? Well, it is.
One woman we saw getting intimate with herself in the Hug Chair refused to leave. She had to be carried out of the museum kicking and screaming, a mass of burns and open wounds.

There are also skin-fold chairs, latex wellies, thumb cups, an interactive virtual garden, feather ticklers, mouths on sticks and something called a Lap Juicer.

To take full advantage of all the great fun on offer at 'Touch Me', we recommend you take along a friend or partner, if you have one. But remember, no fucking in the Hug Chair.

'Touch me' runs till 29 August and costs a fiver to get in, without concessions.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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