SKIN ON SKIN: A brief cultural history of touch – documentary

PASSWORD: touch-2021

Featuring Professor Francis McGlone

Touch is the basis of all life. A touch can be nurturing and protective, reassuring and comforting, it can be electrifying and sensual. The sense of touch is the first sense that an embryo develops long before it is able to see, hear or smell. A human that is not touched, withers – emotionally and physically. But touch can also be hurtful, painful, frightening or revolting. Here lies the great dilemma of touch: We all long for it, but fear it at the same time.

In the cultural history of mankind, touch is an important indicator: The way people touch each other – across different cultures and epochs – and the way art explores the tension between closeness and distance, reveals a lot about a society’s attitude to life, moods and values.

The film delves deep into the phenomenon of touch with an interdisciplinary approach from the perspective of art history, history, neuroscience, philosophy and sociology. It features artists, thinkers, scientists and a newborn and takes the viewer on a touching journey through cultural history – from the kiss of peace to social distancing.


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