What started as a” micro” dance performance visualising small movements across the body by the fingers of the dancer evolved into a scientifically verified feel-good therapy.
Around 2010 I started working with dancers to try and visualize the movement of the human body in a minimalistic setting. Dancers “danced” with fingers over their bodies to music that induced a slowness and thoughtfulness. Here I found that after 15 - 20 minutes many of the dancers/performers I worked with were in tears or in a state of deep calm.
2012 my dancing and choreography friends in the USA, Coco Karol and Luke Gutgsell produced the film TOPOGRAPHY that used dance, projections, film and music to explore global and personal landscapes of body, thought, space, and time. Apart from inspiring me to produce a series of paintings, the delicate projection of bodies on the dancer’s skin gave me a further dimension and a new term TOPOLOGY. Coco on her website (findingcoco.net) quoted Gregory Bateson’s "The map is not the territory". Here I thought we were both on the same track. We do not know the territory of our bodies and more specifically the complete function of our skin.
I continued the development of TOPOLOGY with performances, micro dances using the same kind of music until late 2015. Max Richter released SLEEP an 8-hour continuum of new music that interacts directly with our (un)-consciousness. The whole piece revolves around the neuroscience of sleep. As Mr Richter said, “SLEEP is an attempt to see how the space when your conscious mind is on holiday can be a place for music to live”.
This music made a definitive and lasting change to my TOPOLOGY project. The dancers/performers listening to SLEEP had an even deeper and lasting experience than before.
I became so fascinated by this new development that together with other people we experimented on non-performers/dancers to see if they could experience the same depth of elation that I had experienced in my studio. The very positive results encouraged me to regularly offer what had now become TOUCH TOPOLOGY as a feel-good therapy session. I needed a name for this “magic” TOUCHOLOGY seemed the logical answer.
In 2019 I read an article in a Swedish newspaper (Svenska Dagbladet) about “Skin Hunger” and a nerve fibre on the skin that when touched at a specific speed, temperature and pressure starts a process in the brain that releases the feeling of pleasure and well-being into our bodies.
I was amazed, what I had been developing in TOUCHOLOGY had a scientific basis. Max Richter’s music has a beat that is roughly the speed that the scientists found optimally triggered this nerve fibre. I do even believe that the music heightens the effect.
I feel that with TOUCHOLOGY I have come as close as an artist can to his audience. The choreographed therapy, moving fingers in such a controlled way across the skin, which gives such a rewarding physical experience is indeed a satisfying conclusion to my dance project.
With Touch,
Peter Sherman

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