The Haptic Experience

Recently, I have been exploring the sensory experiences of food. I first looked at ideas of texture and the sensation of feeling different materials and surfaces. I brainstormed using clay and other materials to examine the sense of touch.

This week I worked on two experiments. The first was where users felt their way through the textures of a recipe starting with flour, sugar, then a butter mixture and finally kneading dough. They were then were able to eat and experience the texture of a freshly baked finished pastry. It was a way to experience a quick metaphor to baking.

The other experiment for this week is a was a blind texture test that included pasta, rice, beans and sugar. People put their hands into small slots in a box and felt the material inside to see how it felt and to try and figure out what it was.

Both were tested in our studio class and people responded that they liked this experiment because they were able to connect sensory perception with the cognition of trying to figure out what was inside. This wasn’t in any way a novel concept. We have all seen things like this before. But the insight that both myself and my classmates experienced and how it applied to my project could not have been gained if I failed to do the small test, just because it wasn’t an original creation. I learned that sometimes you need first hand experience, in the context you are exploring, to get you to the next idea. This was a very valuable step in my thesis.

JournalKaren Whistler