303: Sculpting Touch (Pedro Reyes)

Reyes Picture

                “This sculpture may entertain the eye but is meant to be felt and touched. […] [It is a] participatory device one uses to “sculpt” a series of tactile sensations with someone else.”
                -Pedro Reyes, in describing his artwork “Cuerpomatico

                It’s getting hot in Illinois. Earlier today I went off for a last few errands before flying out to visit family tomorrow morning. As I drove, windows open, I worried about this post. There were a number of ideas I’ve been playing with, but none of them felt quite ready. Sitting at a stoplight I searched back through my ideas, shuffling them like cards, disliking each image. And then a few fingers of the afternoon breeze slipped through my open window and brushed past my arm.
                I spend so much time thinking about the world. And to go along with thinking, I spend so much time looking: at my computer screen while I type, at pages while I read, up into a tree when I hear a squirrel but can’t quite see where it is. Reyes’ sculpture brings me out of my eyes and back to my fingertips, my arms. My toes on the carpet. My elbows on the desk. But it’s not just for me: the sculpture’s something two people might do together. You could roll a ball up your friend’s arm, and then trace around their wrist with the wooden propeller. The first time I hugged someone after a long period of sheltering in place alone, I remember something that felt like, yes. This. That’s a little like what happened with the breeze at the stoplight. This. Maybe that’s what happens when, reminded by skies or friends, we go back to the way we’re always touching and being touched by the world.

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