Theory — 24 Mar 2018

Reach out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand): Feel Philosophies. Curator: Jack Halberstam.
€ 3,- (excl. museum entrance) / Rietveld students free with card
Teijin Auditorium, livestream in studio A
24 Mar 2018, 10 am until 5.30 pm
Main language

“Reach out and touch/Somebody’s hand/Make this world a better place/If you can.” The confidence that reaching out or outreach can make the world better infuses Diana Ross’ debut solo release in 1970. Reaching out has not proven the utopian project she imagined, but it remains an important gesture within the political repertoire of queer and trans subjects who centre the body and its desires, needs, limits, and potential. In the work of the theorists gathered here, the hand, handicraft, handmade items all jostle in the space of contact articulating new forms of art, communication, desire, and movement. Situating the body as itself a project of crafting, making, building, and unravelling, the ‘Reach Out and Touch’ talks and performances explore the physics of touch, gestural repertoires of grasping and feeling, the aesthetics of the handmade, the limits of sensory perception, the social dynamics of bodily regimes of doing, making, and exploring. In addition, we will think about the haptic body in time and space. For Stefano Harney and Fred Moten in The Undercommons (2013), hapticality is a way of being in relation to the now, the touch of the present as it holds you. They define ‘hapticality’, as ‘the touch of the undercommons, the interiority of sentiment, the feel that what is to come is here.’ These concatenating feelings – sentiment, touch, sense – arrive at a place that is now and here, close at hand. The philosophy of the now, for them, is a philosophy of feeling. 

On this day, at this event, we will all be or become ‘philosophers of the feel’.


Karen Barad, Professor, Feminist Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
boychild, artist
Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, University of California, Berkeley
Mel Y. Chen, Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies; Director, Center for the Study of Sexual Culture, University of California, Berkeley
Paul B. Preciado, philosopher
Jeanne Vaccaro, Mellon Fellow, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, Science & Technology Studies, University of California, Davis


Block 1

10:30 AM Welcome | Jorinde Seijdel
10:45 AM Introduction | Jack Halberstam
11:00 AM Material Relations | Julia Bryan-Wilson 

Block 2

11:45 AM Break
12:00 AM On Touching: The Alterity Within | Karen Barad
1:00 PM Lunch Break 

Block 3

1:45 PM Agitation as a Form of Conduct | Mel Y. Chen
2:30 PM Out of Distracted Vision: Psychedelic Sexology and the Handmade Aesthetics of Transgender | Jeanne Vaccaro  
3:15 PM Break 

Block 4

3:30 PM Every Life Matters: The Work of Lorenza Böttner | Paul B. Preciado
4:15 PM In conversation with: UNTITLED LIPSYNC | boychild
5:00 PM End of program