Touch Is Essential Project

This work of art will shed light on the strength of our collective character and the courage of our human conviction to rise above the frustration and misery we are all experiencing, during this Pandemic. It will accomplish this in two ways-

1. By focusing on the essential workers assisting us through these times.
2. By reconnecting us through the sense we are all currently missing, touch.

This Pandemic has created loss of many kinds: Loss of health, finances, relationships, and of course the loss of life itself. But the one loss that all of mankind globally continues to endure is the loss of touch. Touch from another human being. This work will focus on that loss and reconnect us...through touch.

Touch can spread the virus. So everyone is being asked not to touch each other: no hugs, no hand shakes or casual kisses, no crowds for dancing, sporting events, concerts or festivals! The idea of even being too near someone has become a bit unnerving. We are being asked to stay at least six feet apart from each other. Imagine that, a world full of 7.7 billion people all distanced and not touching! Touching each other, for now, is a thing of the past.

In addition to honoring the essential workers this project re-connects us through touch.

Touch Is Essential- Actualized

This installation currently consists of 8 sections. Each made of high grade steel and measuring approximately 4’ across by 4’ high by 2.5’ deep. The sections will be assembled side by side to form an octagon approximately 20’ in diameter. Each section will have 25 off-white/grey clay tiles mounted to it (200 total tiles.) Each tile measures 10”x10.” The tiles will be mounted in a way to appear as though floating off of the metal surface. Every tile will have the actual hand impression of an essential worker. A three-dimensional relief, pressed in by that person's own hand. Then the tile will get a clear gloss glaze, which will best allow the shadows of the hand impressions to be emphasized by sunlight.

This is a collection of hands that are helping us through this. Hands of people putting themselves at risk, that none of us can now shake or touch with thanks, are suddenly available for us to touch.

People encountering this installation can actually place their hand directly on and into the impressions left by essential workers. This tactical connection, the sensation of touch that none of us now has,
will be emotionally powerful even long after this pandemic is under control. Some have already compared it to how people touch the Vietnam Memorial Wall. In its own way it gives us a sense
of connection again. It bridges the gap of distance that now exists between us.

Imprinted on each tile will be a one or two word description; Doctor, Nurse, Delivery Driver, Grocery Clerk, Postal Worker, Fireman, etc. Titles depicting the role of that essential worker, 200 of them.

A number will be imprinted on each tile; the viewer can go to the Touch Is Essential web site, enter that number and read how that person helped us all through this time. The viewer can connect to that worker by reading his or her personal story and experiences. Potentially the site could also be a place where people can donate to organizations such as a Covid-19 Relie·f Fund.

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