T0UCH1NG N01SE explores the relationship between body, memory, disability, and connectivity. In this piece, I paint scarred, broken, and damaged parts of my body with Bare Conductive body paint, a conductive ink that can transfer the body’s electricity into the power needed to run a computer program. During the performance, participants “touch” the painted scars that have configured a (my) psychic topography of disconnection and disembodiment (Grosz, 1994). The amount of conductive energy that transfers to me is dependent on the pressure of their touch as well as their situated body in that moment and in that place – all kinds of biochemical processes can affect the body’s electricity. This electricity is then used as the input value in a program that draws a Perlin noise flow field. While watching their touch manifest on a projected screen, participants are also listening to audio recordings and remixes of the Google results when searching for my name. The result is a multi-sensory experience that is both connection and disconnection, both online and offline, both input and output, and both representational code and material body.

My goal in this project is to show how the traces that we leave – what shows up in a Google search or the mountainous scars on a body – are emergent. They are configurations of the ways in which we interact, intra-act, connect, and disconnect (Barad, 2003). Further, more than connecting me with other bodies, the project had the effect of connecting me back to myself, allowing me to move through the materiality of trauma and find the place where my body “learned desire – where it filled me with energy and drive” (Gallop, 1997, p. 19) again.


Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28, 801-831.

Gallop, J. (1997). Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Grosz, E. A. (1994). Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

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T0UCH1NG N01SE by Krystin Gollihue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.