Laura A Dima – Future Affair

‘Future Affair redefines the way we view art by bringing physical contact into the experience, while at the same time raising questions about the role of touch in society. Can we create affectionate touch without human contact? Can art and technology combine to open an altered space for a new dimension of touch? Can we enter a way of thinking that transcends our fears and prejudices to reconnect us to one another? Future Affair offers us glimmering possibilities for a new prism of touch.’

Future Affair

A new prism of touch
We are living in a period of unprecedented social distancing, a period of exponential increase in screen time and growing influence of social media algorithms. Within this context, Laura A Dima has developed an artwork that revitalizes our experience of touch. Future Affair is an immersive experience of blissful touch, touch without the threat of virus, without taboo or prejudice. Dima has created a ground-breaking altered space that marries robotics and aesthetic craftsmanship to bypass preconceived cultural norms.

This multimedia installation consists of two isolated hubs that are part warped confessional, part hallucinatory phone booth. One of the hubs contains a control panel sculpture, while the other hub houses the caressing machine: heated robotic silicone fingers that, once the consent button has been pushed, respond in accordance with the first hub’s interactive sculpture. Thus, it is the participants themselves who, upon entering these hubs, bring to life the defamiliarizing sensory realm that is Future Affair. Their physical contact with the objects in each hub allows a thrilling abstracted communication to develop between participants.

Future Affair is part live experiment, part theoretical research. This multidisciplinary project brings together engineers, craftspeople and design specialists from TU Delft whose input, channeled through Dima’s creative vision, transforms the viewer from passive spectator to vital symbiont. This transformation refracts touch through a new prism, challenging the current trend of ever-growing interpersonal distance within society.

Laura A Dima
Laura A Dima is a Romanian-born multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2015 from the department of Inter-Architecture and is currently following the ArtScience Interfaculty masters programme at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK)/Royal Conservatoire (KC). Her studio is based in Amsterdam, where she creates multimedia installations that combine performance, technology, and academic research.

Dima’s works explore cultural norms surrounding intimacy, touch, and privacy, with notable pieces including “The Finger Rub Rug,” a sculpture in the shape of a mattress with 1300 silicone replicas of her partner’s fingers placed in an isolated white room and accompanied by a spatial soundtrack, and “Future Affair,” an interactive installation that allows participants to give and receive affective touch remotely through a caressing robot and a control panel sculpture.