Marvin Flores Unger Soft Talk (2020)

An exploration in social-distance communication and ASMR microchipped in the public space of Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht.

A lack of touch can increase the feeling of loneliness. That's because our brains produce less of the hormone oxytocin, also called the cuddle hormone. Oxytocin has a calming effect on the body and increases empathy. The project Soft Talk or “Do Microchips whisper about electric trees?” is investigating whether ASMR can also manifest in public space.

The whole installation is made of copper, which is antibacterial and offers a lower survival rate of COVID-19 on the surface than other materials. Copper is also a commonly used material to transmit sounds and information.

In two discussion sessions with scientists, artists and curators, among others, we explore what ASMR has to offer public space from different angles. Watch the videos to hear all about the experiment and the experts' reflection on the research.

The project Soft Talk was exhibited between 13.11.20 and 07.03.21 on the outdoor exhibition space of RAUM Utrecht.

Credits Soft Talk

Project/Artists: Jasper Zehetgruber with Marvin Unger
Technical Support: Jan Hoydem
Photos Drone: Igor Roelofsen
Production Cones: Drückerei Hommel

Guests Soft Talk 1:
Psychologist, University of Essex: Dr. Giulia Poerio
Designer Researcher: Marijn Bril
Writer/Curator Moderator: Tiiu Meiner

Guests Soft Talk 2:
Dramaturgy/Scenography, University of Utrecht: Sigrid Merx
Sound Artist Researcher: Julie Rose Bower
Curator, ArkDes Stockholm: James Taylor-Foster
Writer/Curator Moderator: Tiiu Meiner

Credits Living Apart Together RAUM Utrecht

Project Director: Larissa Koers
Curator: Rinke Vreeke
Marketing, Communication: Iris Loos
Website: Leonie Dijkstra
Productie Programmering: Joost Ruijter
Prachtige Wezens: Mounhim Tahtahi
Facility Management: Quentin Davelaar
Research: Jacob Herrie
Director: Donica Buisman
Design research direction: Jop Japenga, Olga van Lingen
Art direction: Marije Hobo, Anouk Diemel, Dennis Vlietinck
Production: Dennis Mulder, Jesper Groen, Bram Staal

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