During this workshop, you will be guided through several activities and perceptual illusions to focus the senses before building objects for the ‘Clay Hand Experiment’ and the ‘Unfeasible Object’ experiment. The CHI is based on the Rubber hand illusion; only in the CHI and Unfeasible object experiments, participants build their own hand and other non-hand like objects rather than using a replica rubber hand. Using clay, it is possible to distort and manipulate the clay beyond the form of a hand and create different degrees of ‘unfeasible objects’ and attempt to embody these as part of our own body image. The workshop explores the possibility that participants can not only believe that a clay hand is their own hand but, in some cases, that an unfeasible object is their own hand.
The discovery of the now well-known ‘Rubber Hand Illusion’ in 1998, led to a surge of new multisensory perceptual illusions being developed. Multisensory perceptual illusions combine different senses; in this case tactile and visual. Similar techniques are used to make participants believe they have embodied someone’s else’s body, have moved out of their own bodies [simulated out of body experiences], or even occupy empty space.
Before the workshop, you will be required to complete a short online questionnaire 10 mins.
During the workshop, you will be guided through a number of activities to prepare the sense. Everyone’s experience will be completely different and there is a small chance that you may not experience these kinds of illusions to the same degree as others.
Towards the end of the workshop, we will discuss the experience, and explore the scientific and historical context of tactile illusions and perceptual hallucination more widely.
The workshop was developed through a number of collaborations and projects. The first workshop took place at the Manchester Science Festival in 2011 developed in collaboration with Dr Elizibeth Lewis. Since then the workshop has been used as part of my ongoing research into art and perceptual illusion and resulted in “The Clay Hand Illusion And The Embodiment Of Unfeasible Objects” a paper written in collaboration with experimental psychologist Ellen Poliakoff, published in Perception Journal. Most recently the workshop has taken place at Whitworth Art Gallery, 2018 and Manchester Art Gallery 2019.[Find out more about the workshop here…]