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Shivering In Anticipation didactic

Cutaneous Habitat Series
Shivering in Anticipation : Cutaneous Research in the Making of Shiver


This four-channel didactic video illustrates some of the research that went into creating Shiver.

My premise in Cutaneous Habitat is that our skin’s contact with space is critical to forming our experience of space. Although skin shields our internal workings and makes them a mystery, it is also a profound negotiator between our inner and outer world. A non-verbal conversation emerges, and the room itself appears to be highly empathetic. My desire is for viewers to return that perceived empathy through their movement in the space. This haptic feedback loop creates a sense of physical intimacy, within a space that functions as if it’s a sentient organism.


Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this mediation takes place through the senses. Touch is the sensory mode that integrates our experience of the world with that of ourselves. [M]y body remembers who I am and where I am located in the world.

Juhani Pallasmaa : Eyes of the Skin – Architecture and the Senses, 1996


...we have tended to think of the skin as…a watertight covering that enfolds ourselves and our organs and keeps them separate from the world out there.  We visualize the skin in purely Euclidian terms, as a two-dimensional sheet that envelops us in a kind of perpetual Saran Wrap…In actuality…the skin is a highly convoluted, vulnerable, three-dimensional landscape…[It] has valleys, ridges, and folds, much as does the earth’s surface.  And, like the earth, it is shot through with pores, holes and channels that greatly increase its surface area and make it anything but a smooth, two-dimensional surface.

Marc Lappé : The Body's Edge, 1996


In addition to its role in thermoregulation and water-balance, the skin is also a tactile sensory organ, and its mechanical characteristics greatly influence the nature of the neural pattern which occurs where it makes contact with an object.

Dr. Robert Edelberg : Biophysical Properties of the Skin (essay in a collection), 1971