Skin awareness device for experiencing our interface with the world
by Helena Fox


This image is of sycamore keys threaded on cotton and placed on the skin to be wind-tumbled. The thread can also be drawn across the skin to raise awareness to our body surface for considering how we meet and sense the world through touch including the cascade of wider thoughts and feelings that arise from this. It is easy to forget how we are sensing in this way all the time. And it is easy to forget the touch of the air(1). This is one image in a series of experiments in ‘close noticing’(2). These are small acts that disrupt our habitual ways of thinking(3), often in autopilot, and draw our attention to the moment-by-moment sensed and intuited experience. The aim of all these experiments is to raise mindful awareness of how we respond to the world in a fully embodied way, as subjective lived experience and not through logical thinking alone. These experiments aim to generate exchange of ideas.

This work is part of a larger body of work for an arts-led PhD which explores how the aesthetic mode(4) may enhance the delivery of more compassionate healthcare by raising awareness to all our sensing, particularly within the human encounter in the clinic.

Dr Helena Fox,
Consultant Psychiatrist, London, and PhD student, Oxford Brookes University

1 David Abrams: Spell of the Sensuous
2 A term borrowed from the late Post Jungian therapist, James Hillman
3 Brechtian strategy of ‘making strange’
4 Here meaning sense perception, Greek origin