research + works


Palpable City + bark rubbings

Palpable City and bark rubbings were chosen to be exhibited as part of Enter 5: DATAPOLIS, international art | sci | tech | biennale prague.


new documentation coming soon!

Project pages :::: Palpable City :::: bark rubbings.


kinaesthetic double double

Riding the train, one's body participates in a choreography of movements instigated by the twists and turns of the tracks. Largely ignored, this jostling constitutes a communal everyday kinaesthetic experience. However, we share this experience with more than our fellow travelers---this choreography includes non-human actors as well. kinaesthetic double-double is a "performing object"---in this case, a discarded coffee cup that replays the quotidian jostling brought about by the twists, turns, stops and starts of the subway. Currently on exhibit as part of the RIDERS on the TRAIN exhibition at the AXIOM Center for New and Experimental Media in Jamaica Plain, MA from November 10 - December 19, 2009. Visti the project page

bark rubbings: city as forest

In bark rubbing I would like to think of the city as a forest of textures. A forest in nature can be seen an experience of living architecture. It is a medium that connects earth-human-sky. A walk through a forest has a texture of densities of vegetation, and within that varying densities of species, each with their own texture.

The city can be imagined in a similar way, certain areas are more or less dense with buildings and people. The buildings' canopy is higher or lower depending upon use or neighborhood. When you look to individual buildings, each facade has its own texture. The idea is that the visual textures and energies of the living and built structures project out into the spaces that surround them. By wearing the vest and walking through the spaces, one can experience them. The textures range from smooth rolling waves up and down the body, to stochastic full body bursts. Timing and intensity of the vibrations vary depending on the participants movement, much like how the sensation and impression changes when you vary the speed and pressure of charcoal while making a rubbing over a texture. project page.

Experience 'bark rubbings' at Pixilerations 2009 in Providence, RI at the Sol Koffler Gallery or visit the project page.


poems told by touch

The “mother of all senses”–touch is the sense which became differentiated into the others. The skin is the most ancient and largest sense organ of the body, yet few arts engage it directly. In his 1921 The Manifesto of Tactilism, Futurist Filippo T. Marinetti outlined a radical new “Art of Touch”. It is in this spirit that I propose to bring “poems told by touch” to Bumpkin Island via the construction of a small tactilist theatre. Updates will be posted on the project page

Part of the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment, Labor day weekend in the Boston Harbor Islands

Upcoming part of Fort Point Open Studios

1.1.1. Reading a wave

“The sea is barely wrinkled, and little waves strike the sandy shore. Mr. Palomar is standing on the shore, looking at a wave. Not that he is lost in contemplation of the waves. He is not lost, because he is quite aware of what he is doing: he wants to look at a wave and he is looking at it. He is not contemplating, because for contemplation you need the right temperament, the right mood, and the right combination of exterior circumstances; and though Mr. Palomar has nothing against contemplation in principle, none of these three conditions applies to him. Finally, it is not “the waves” that he means to look at, but just one individual wave: in his desire to avoid vague sensations, he establishes for his every action a limited and precise object.” project page


Palpable City - Eindhoven Palpable City is part of ImageRadio, November 2-4, 2007 in Einhoven, Netherlands. Updates soon on the new project page


decorticate fell + People think through their bodies. A change in body is a change in thought. The limits of the body are surprisingly plastic. Project wear-woof investigates the relationship between the phenomenal understanding of the body and the experience and understanding of space. project page

troglodyte + Troglodyte stems from the collaborative efforts of three members of the Topological Media Lab: Erik Conrad, Josee-Anne Drolet and Justyna Latek. The project consists of an ongoing series of experiments/interventions that investigate the relationship between a phenomenal understanding of the body and the experience and under- standing of space... project page

gestural light + This research functions as material studies for creating responsive environments, using light that is shaped by movement and gesture. Ambient lighting and projected video are explored. In the case of projected video, in general, the video is not to be viewed as a framed image object, but as illumination.project page


palpable city + palpable city is an extension of my MS work at UC Irvine, TactileSpace. Palpable City is a large scale tactile installation. The everyday experience of space is augmented with an invisible tactile landscape, where one navigates less by vision and more by feel. For updates see the project documentation.

study: gesture | water | light | This project is a materials study for creating responsive environments. Projected video is used, not as a framed image object, but as illumination that is shaped by movement and gesture. The participant's actions are transformed into a breeze that disturbs the light as if it were a pool of water, offering a tactile visual experience. more

sketch: attention and action recognition + Action recognition describes the similar neural response to both performing an action and observing similar action performed by someone else. Based on the fact that creatures with different sensory motor capabilities segment the world in different ways (visually, temporally, sonically, etc...), this exercise uses some common computer vision techniques in novel ways to create alternate forms of visual perception for use in responsive objects/environments. more


æther + æther is an experiment in how new technologies of representation affect human perception. It acts as a haptic surface for computer mediated visualinformation to enable tangible experiences common to painting and sculpture, but rare in digital media. By immersing the experience of reading into a haptic visual space, different ways of seeing are allowed to dynamically combine and separate, giving rise to new forms of visual expression and reception. more


irnerio + You are about to begin reading about Erik Conrad's interactive narrative 'irnerio', based on Italo Calvino's novel, 'If on a winter's night a traveler'. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade...more

Invisible Relations + with Yoichiro Serita, Elizabeth Adams, Maryann Westfall. This project is an experiment in creating a space that recognizes the untraveled paths between people. As people enter the space, connections between individuals are 'drawn' onto the ground via an overhead projector, providing a visualization of the 'Invisible Relations' between people and perhaps inviting new and unanticipated interactions amongst the individuals. more

for hire

Mouse over the above image links for project descriptions.

hypertext works (archival)

Archive of older work. Some links may be defunct.

How to display a flying dragon, from Johann Kestler, Physiologia Kircheriana Experimentalis, p. 247. from

© Erik Conrad 1998-2012