Feeling Absence

Can shadows become material objects in themselves? Can we add materiality to shadows and let people feel them through touch? Would they become even more real? Can we disconnect shadows from the objects that create them; make them exist independently and persistently? The Feeling Absence installation consists of a table and two opposing chairs in a dark room. The table is brightly lit so that objects placed on the table cast prominent hard shadows on its surface. Once the visitors take a seat on one of the instrumented chairs they can touch and feel the shadows that are cast on the table.

The visitors can create shadows by using objects provided in the Feeling Absence installation but they also can create shadows by using their bodies and personal artifacts, such as accessories or mobile phones. As soon as they slide their fingers across those shadows they would feel prominent tactile textures on the smooth table surface. The tactile feedback is produced using a novel tactile feedback technology, called electrovibration. In the Feeling Absence installation, the shadows gain a materiality and can be experienced and explored through touch, just like ‘real’ objects.

2011 – Disney Research

Credits: Olivier Bau, Ivan Poupyrev