What You Touch Is (Not) What You See. The Haptic Unconscious and Digital In-corporeality in the Airport Space

Marek Wojtaszek


The contemporary airport features a wide array of convergent apparatuses that digitize various services, thus modifying the space and creating unique experiences to travelers. Their increasingly haptic interfaces make techno-sensation emerge as of pivotal importance to comprehend the deeper cultural transformation animated by computational apparatuses. This process engages our bodies that constitute a material resource and feed the realm of digital data. As a perceptual machine, airport terminal shapes our sensations and works our feelings but its expanding codespace – assuming haptic image – engenders a novel mode of extra-perceptual experience. Adopting a new materialist and realist approach to computational media inspired by Gilles Deleuze and Gilbert Simondon, this article explores how airport environment is articulated in a techno-intimate manner, and how this transforms our habituated, representational, mode of organizing visual and haptic experience. Taking cues from Walter Benjamin and Cubist art, it further addresses aesthetic-ecological questions about our intimacies and the manners they are spatially architected by haptic interfaces. Critically engaging with the example of “The Social Tree” at Changi Airport, Singapore, the article demonstrates how the sensory machines codify travelers’ bodies, thus triggering their becoming-imperceptible. Analyzing airport’s generation of sensation beyond receptivity, this article accounts for how sensory entanglement with haptic interfaces s(t)imulates emergence of an in-corporeal aesthetic – one that no longer rests on distancing vision but (cod)entangled, sensible screen-series.

Słowa kluczowe: airport, codespace, Deleuze, haptic unconscious, in-corporeal, taktisch

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