Configurations: Archaeologies of Touch

Review of Archaeologies of Touch by David Parisi

A material history of haptics technology that raises new questions about the relationship between touch and media

In an era dominated by a demand for touchscreens and ever-more immersive virtual reality experiences, haptics has become an essential feature of modern communication networks. The dialogue surrounding tactile technoscience typically depicts efforts to mechanize touch as an entirely recent phenomenon, creating the impression that contemporary researchers are striving to recapture a long-neglected sense. As novel as these emerging haptic interfaces appear, however, this mindset fails to recognize that touch's technogenesis has been nearly four hundred years in the making. David Parisi seeks to rectify this perspective in Archaeologies of Touch by constructing a narrative of touch's technological integration that begins with eighteenth-century electrotactile machines and continues up to the appearance of twenty-first-century remote sex systems. 


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