The sense of touch is essential to human beings and it develops very quickly since our first steps in life, as we need it to survive in our environment. The skin has a memory that understands and adapts to the surroundings, either pleasant or from uncomfortable.
However, the concept of touch abides by different rules in different cultures and societies. Even more today with crisis related to migration and displacement, those many people that may have lost references and images from home. Still the skin remembers, equally for those who are longing for an often missing fantasy of belonging or returning home, their bodies read as geographically marked sites on which sacred stories are told – a ‘Terra Infirma’ according to researcher Irit Rogoff.
What if nostalgia is this space in-between what’s found and lost, without certainty to come back or go forward?
What if nostalgia is not related to a home or to a nation but to what the body and skin experience and encounter through wrinkles and scars and the one touch that we missed at some point in life?
For to Boym “Reflexive nostalgia cherishes shattered fragments of memory and space:” This was the starting point of my research to find new surfaces to print thoughts and take them out of myself: A transparent fabric that looks like paper which in touch seems a perfect analogy to skin, a surface both strong not to be damaged but also very delicate to handle, a surface approachable but complex just like a map of life.
“I depict cactus because it is one of the rare elements that looks distinctively beautiful at sight but cannot be touched. This is an analogy to traumatic or hard memories that we carry with us and we hope to overcome or erase from our mind”.
East London/Basque artist Naroa Perez diverts photographic ‘rules’ and techniques by printing works on fabric in order to bring a new and therapeutic perspective of tactile visual, aimed at making a tense relation to memory between touching and seeing. She extends her research as a mean to those who encountered or are suffering personal and physical traumas, highlighting the importance of looking at therapeutic means for healing.
Text by: Toufik Douib Curator