During the pandemic I thought a lot about how touch was at risk of becoming stigmatized due to the spread of COVID-19. Much of my personal practice focuses on touch that manifests as interactive works (soft plush sculptures, thermochromic prints, etc). In light of COVID-19, my work investigating touch and how we form relationships developed a new sense of urgency. How can we memorialize physical contact (a fundamental part of the human experience) in a time when touch is at risk of becoming stigmatized?
To explore this notion I want to investigate how we can make barriers of touch more human. I intend to look at bioplastic forms (ambitiously, a bioplastic glove perhaps) that have thermochromic properties. When they are handled they will leave a trace of human touch behind as they slowly return to their base color. Thermochromic pigments are activated by the human body temperature and so touch can be recorded with a time based action after the plastics are handled, in whatever form they take.
My initial investigation will be experimenting with different bioplastic recipes of which I have found various ones which yield to different degrees of flexibility and tackiness, depending on ingredients and ratios.
Once I have settled on a recipes I will begin to integrate the thermochromic pigment into the ingredients and observe how effective the material is at temporarily recording touch.
I have recently come across bioplastic material investigations on Instructables that have laser-cut samples, which would be perfect should I pursue creating a bioplastic glove using a sewing pattern. I have not yet grasped the feasibility of this endeavour but I’m so keen to try!