Laboratory of Senses TOUCH

Emerging artist: Aistė Jančiūtė (Lithuania)
Residency place: Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone, UK)
Practice: Textiles, Experimental Theatre, Performance / Sound artist
Local artist: Jon Law
Curated by: Georgie Scott

Aistė Jančiūtė is textile artist from Lithuania, who had one-month residency in Folkestone (UK), as the result of her residency Aistė presented an installation, exploration, performance named Laboratory of Senses TOUCH, which was part of “Normal? Festival of the Brain 2018”. This year, the festival explored the themes of Love, Loss, Grief, Rest, Sleep and Perception.

Artists Aistė Jančiūtė during Magic Carpets residency in Folkstone. Photo by Severina Venckutė / Nanook

The installation was set up in an unused office and people were invited to participate either as a spectator or as someone who was blindfolded and guided around the installation. This project explored the perception of weight and how it can differ from person to person physically, psychologically, spiritually. Aistė wanted to understand how the people of Folkestone experience weight and to compare it to other places. She also wanted people to be able to explore how they feel in an environment where their senses are being affected in a variety of ways. Through Sight (blindfolds), Touch (local objects, materials, and liquids at different temperatures), Smell (essences), Sound (sound pieces by Jon Law and voices). Sound was an important element that Aistė wanted to explore and so she worked closely with a sound artist, Jon Law to create two sound pieces which explored weight – one using room tones to create a low, weighty atmosphere in the room and the other using recorded falling sounds with a voice reciting a list from the eyelash to the universe which was played through earphones participants put on whilst lying underneath an open window. These different sensory experiences made up the 4 stops that the participants were led around.

Inside The Laboratory of Senses TOUCH by Aistė Jančiūtė / Photo by Mindaugas Drigotas / Nanook

After the 20-minute performance, the participants had their blindfolds removed and everyone in the room was invited to write or draw their experience on a piece of paper, or directly onto the wall, and also to discuss how they felt with others in the room.

Inside The Laboratory of Senses TOUCH by Aistė Jančiūtė / Photo by Mindaugas Drigotas / Nanook

The outcome of the installation was a huge variety of personal experiences where the people of Folkestone explored how they perceived different weights and were encouraged to connect with their bodies and senses.

Inside The Laboratory of Senses TOUCH by Aistė Jančiūtė / Photo by Mindaugas Drigotas / Nanook

During her residency, Aistė spent time meeting with, and running workshops with, local artists and organizations, such as Touchbase Care to learn more about the people who live here and how they might experience weight.

Touchbase Care is a community group where people with physical disabilities, mild learning difficulties, neurodiversity and sensory impairment are supported in arts, education, access to work, recreation, health and well-being. Their goal is to bring people, who may suffer from isolation, together in a supportive setting. To encourage and support members with achieving personal goals. To use arts and creativity in a therapeutic setting and to support clients in accessing events and places of interest in the wider community.

Moment of The Laboratory of Senses TOUCH by Aistė Jančiūtė / Photo by Mindaugas Drigotas / Nanook

Author of the text: Georgie Scott

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