Being an Island, Deprivation of Touch

“The only pure, virginal sense that remains is touch. It’s also the only one that hasn’t been catered for by the arts. It hasn’t been aestheticised. I see it as an unexplored plain; I believe there is a buried treasure there.”

~Jan Švankmajer

Today, I came across a simple piece of art that I found very powerful. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to click the link that had been posted with it. It brought me to a Tumblr called Being an Island.

One of the first things that stuck out to me when I started reading, was that this wasn’t just a normal blog: it wasn’t about the media, or cat gifs, or retrospect. It was about a girl who was looking for support while going through a very psychologically taxing experiment. An experiment, where for two months she would not touch a single person. Not one.

By the time I was done reading I had to reevaluate how important touching is to a human being. Because we touch everything but nothing is as important as when we connect with each other. A quick squeeze of someones hand for strength, a touch to an arm– perhaps concern or comfort, even something as simple as a hug can completely change a persons mood. And she denied her self all of it for two months, even when it brought her pain.

Now the piece of art (below) that led me to all of this has a different and deeper meaning than it did before. To me it means essence. To me it means comfort. To me it means something that we take for granted. And it strikes me– what she and her blog did. She was reaching out to people and people were reaching back. She was touching them (and them her) without ever having to feel flesh beneath her fingers.

Text reads: This doesn’t compare to the feel of your skin

Text reads: This doesn’t compare to the feel of your skin

Just some parting words and something to think about:

They say after seven years your skin cells have completely regenerated, so if you went seven years without touching another person, essentially you’d be in a body that no one had ever touched, you’d be entirely yourself, at least physically. It’s an interesting concept.

~Diane (blogger of Being an Island)

To read more about Being an Island you can visit the blog here: Being an Island Blog


4 thoughts on “Being an Island, Deprivation of Touch

  1. Do you think this experiment would make you want to touch more people or less? I’d actually think the latter just because it would make you realize who you missed touching the most and after the experiment was per you’d focus solely on them. Fantastic blog, by the way!

    • That’s an interesting point you make. I think it really depends on the person. I, personally, am a very physical person. I like hugs and high-fives and I take comfort from physical contact. I think that I would end up touching who I missed the most more but at the same time I think I would also subconsciously touch everyone more in general.

      Thank you (:

  2. Hello. I don’t know if this blog is still active, I wish I had discovered it way sooner. I am Natt Rozanska, the author and artist behind ‘Being an Island’ and that Braille piece (the ‘Diane’ that you mentioned was Diane Borsato, whom I contacted about her project ‘Touching 1000 People’ as it was so close in nature to mine).
    I’d really love to thank you for this delightful review of my project, I really do wish I’d seen it sooner. That project will always be an important one to me, and that Braille piece has taken on a life of its own now, touching and affecting so many people (this is what brought me here, I often google the piece to make sure I am being properly credited everywhere). I realise I hadn’t actually correctly credited the ‘Being an Island’ blog, as it was just a specific focused one on that project and I always viewed it as a sub blog from my main artist page, I didn’t even know anyone had paid much attention to it, so thank you again ❤

    • Hello! Yes, while I’ve been lacking in posts, I still stay active on WordPress.

      I’m glad you enjoyed my review. I still remember reading through all your posts, they were so striking to me. They still are. Throughout middle school I wasn’t a fan of physical touch. As I got older I started craving physical contact more and (much to some of my friend’s surprise). It got to the point where I did a full 180 and was constantly hugging or doing something that would connect me to someone else physically. I think reading through your blog really made me reflect on my own journey with touch and human contact. So thank you for writing down your experience with everything.

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