by Rosaline van der Horst

How can we rethink our physical relationship to each other by means of an object that intervenes as an intermediary?

2022 | Graduation work

With the rise of the digital age, technology is changing the way we connect. The online connections in the ‘cyberspace’ are resulting in disconnections in the real world. We have become accustomed to having social interactions through a screen. But these interactions lack the tactility of human connection. Besides that, we regularly hear stories about inappropriate touch behavior. This resulted in people fearing being accused of inappropriate touch, so they rather choose not to touch. These technological and psychological developments influenced our touch behavior. This decrease in tactical human contact has resulted in the increase of people with skin hunger, a condition that happens when you don’t get enough or no physical touch at all.

BODY-OBJECT is a social and sensory experience consisting of physical objects that act as an intermediary, encouraging people to connect and playfully interact with each other. By means of the shapes of the objects, enables them to discover each other in a new way, establishing touch, interaction, and connection. Engaging with the objects, challenges the people to be close to each other. This role of the object encourages people to be physically intimate with each other.

Instead of technological devices or the emotion of fear to touch, there is now a physical object between people. Therefore the tactical connection of people is rediscovered, encouraging them to rethink their physical relationships with one another.


The objects facilitate intimacy in different ways. The work is to create a space of playful intimacy in which you have several phases of encounters with objects and with each other. The transition between the objects enables people to be more comfortable with each other while building up the tension and level of intimacy. Choose an object to interact with and connect with each other, from your own desires or fear. 


This phase creates the first encounter with each other. The object invites people to sit on the object and encourages them to interact with each other. It enables them to get to know each other.  


This object is the second encounter. It brings people one step closer to each other. The object creates an intimate setting by laying together on the object. The shape of the object directs the posture of the body, creating an intimate position.


This phase is the most intimate last encounter. Skin-to-skin touch is established by reaching through the holes and touching the person on the other side. This alienated object creates a unique encounter with the other. Discover tension, awkwardness, and unexpectancies.