2020- 2025: The Contactless Condtion

A multifaced research project that explores aspects of somatic knowledge in the age of expanding network spatiality through the framework of contactlessness, not merely as a technological solution but as an emerging living condition that is rooted in colonial ideology.

Capitalism is an economic form that touches everything else—time, space, and human subjectivity. This research, however, focuses on a set of contactless technologies, from the traditional museum display to the recent contactless payment applications, to suggest that contactless manifestations offer a special kind of grip that capitalizes bodies and spaces through distance and allows access through unifying temporalities. Contactless seeks contact, yet not of the fleshy kind; it always retains a critical distance from the body and a careful calculation of the threshold of touch. The project approaches contactless as a political condition that is rooted in colonialism and continues to adapt its properties in alignment with the current techno-political environment. At the heart of contactless technology lies the desire for frictionless motion, the fantasy of moving through space with no strings attached, without getting stuck. This kind of synchronization of body, data, and capital, enabled by contactless technologies, enhances a new capitalist kinesthetic and spatial superiority that is enabled by computation ubiquities. Through the framework of contactlessness, the volume touches upon shifts in the somatic knowledge in the age of networked spatiality, to define emerging sites of choreo-spatial epistemology that are emblematic for current soma-techno-political modes of data governance. Initiated at Goldsmiths in early 2020, the project developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when access and power were further developed through the lens of digital colonialism and the quantified self. The research expanded through a series of performances, photo-based work, a video essay, written materials, exhibitions, and publications.

Research outcomes:

·      Exhibitions:We Like / Platform Austria,” 17th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (curators: Peter Mörtenböck & Helge Mooshammer); “The New Subject. Mutating Rights and Conditions of Living Bodies” at Konsthall C, Stockholm (curators: Anna Bitkina, Maria Veits and Ulrika Flink); Kusthal NORD, Aalborg, Denmark (curators: Anna Bitkina, Maria Veits and Cathrine Gamst); “The Contactless Condition” at Exhibition Research Lab, Liverpool, UK (forthcoming, curator: Or Tshuva).

·      Reader: Contactless e-flux journal reader, compiled by Ofri Cnaani and Sarah Vowden.

·     Performances: Measures of Closeness, digital performance by Ofri Cnaani, Evann Siebens, and Stella Geppert.  Created in April, 2020, soon after the Covid-19 pandemic began, artists Ofri Cnaani (London/Tel Aviv), Stella Geppert (Berlin) and Evann Siebens (Vancouver) began collaborating over zoom to create long-distance performative sessions that emerged from ongoing research about gesture, space and technology. The performances blurred the lines between participants and audiences members to provoke contemplation as to how we experience our bodies in relation to contact and confinement, and how we think through the mediation of an online space and its formation of political, poetic, spatial and corporeal narratives.
Presented digitally at: A4 ARTS FOUNDATION, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020;  MARIE-LAURE FLEISCH , Brussels, Belgium, 2020; VIRAL FESTIVAL, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2020; BURG, Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle, Berlin, Germany, 2020.

·     Video essay: Ofri Cnaani and Sarah Vowden, Measures of Closeness: A Contactless Lexicon of Gestures, video essay.

·     Publications:
Cnaani, O., and Tshuva, O. (Editors), “The Contactless Condition,” Data Browser Series, Open University Press (Forthcoming, 2025)
Cnaani, O., “Embodied Partialities,” in “Dissident Practices: Posthuman Approaches to Political Economy,” Moravec, L., & Hines, C. L. (Eds), (Bloomsbury, forthcoming)
Cnaani, O., “Platform Capitalism and The Contactless Condition” in: Mooshammer, H., Mörtenböck, P. (Eds), “Platform Urbanism and Its Discontents”(Rotterdam: nai010 uitgevers, 2021) and online.

·    Events:
At The Table with Ofri Cnaani: Who and What Are Missing In A Hyper-Connected World

Perfromance based reseach about the contactless Condtion in Vienna and London

Scenes from  Measures of Closeness, 2020