Mica Scalin: TOUCH

Mica Scalin: TOUCH

Transformer first presented Mica Scalin’s artwork in the June 2002 exhibition Mica and Misaki, also featuring the artwork of Misaki Kawai. Taking a criss-cross look at Japanese and American pop culture from each artists’ touristic perspective, this inaugural exhibition established Transformer’s ongoing focus of fostering cultural exchange and dialogue between DC based artists and their national and international peers. 

For Evoking the Senses, Mica Scalin has created “touch2020” in response to Yoko Ono’s Touch Poem for Group of People which reads: “Touch eachother. 1963 winter.” It was created as a performative poem to encourage physical contact in response to lack of touch among people.  

Scalin went two months without physical touch last year. Since then, she’s only had physical contact with one person. “I miss the casual touch I once took for granted,” Scalin says, “brushing past a stranger in a narrow hallway; an accidental collision in a crowded bar; shoulders and arms pressed against each other momentarily on the train.” 

“Ono’s poem took on a new meaning to me,” Scalin continues. “What to do when human touch and human survival are at odds? What aesthetic experience could possibly replace those odd intimacies?” 

Scalin was compelled to update and reinterpret Ono’s poem in response to 2020’s ongoing “Don’t touch each other” messaging. Scalin felt the necessity to have the reinterpreted poem performed, but lacked an audience so became creative with her resources. 

“My paper dancers are immune to disease, but they were also resistant to following my direction to move in unison, like Tricia Brown’s dancers. I exhale and my breath carries them across the floor, colliding like particles.” 

Scalin has a BFA in Photography from The Corcoran School of Art, and is the Managing Partner of Another Limited Rebellion, an art and innovation studio. 

View Scalin’s new FlatFile artworks just added to the program January 2021 here!


Mica Scalin: TOUCH from Transformer on Vimeo.

touch2020, Mica Scalin, 2020, video and sound, 1 minute 20 seconds