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Lab4Living PhD student Marika Grasso to exhibit at CHItaly 2021 “Frontiers of HCI”

14 Jun 2021

Following on from a recent online residency, Marika Grasso has been accepted to exhibit in CHI Interactive Experiences at CHItaly11th – 13th July 2021. Marika is currently studying for her PhD within Lab4Living. Her exhibit “Touch/Matter Beyond Touchscreens” asks the question “Have you ever really touched your touchscreen?”

Beyond Touchscreen

The installation is a tool to reflect beyond the materiality of technology throughout the marks of touch. It focuses on the relationship between the hand and the computer and the special interaction with the screen. The small rectangular scale of the screen and its continuous presence in human life interlaces thinking and engagement in a very particular manner. The engagement with the layers composing the touchscreen is superficial, the glass layer is marked by human activity through time until the touchscreen is broken by human activity. The glass surface becomes part of the past and it is replaced, while actually, the other inside layers unbroken and soft are forgotten.

The installation is a provocation and discourse about the materiality of daily touched computers (smartphones), by decomposing and relayering and showing the untouched layers. 

The materials/layers of the smartphone are therefore organized according to the softness, elasticity, smoothness, stiffness, and thickness to expose the hidden layers of the daily touching of screens. The un-layering and exposition of all the layers such as glass film, isolation layer, ITO (transparent metal deposit), and LCD serve to look differently at the materiality of technology daily interactions.

The display of the components of the touchscreens aims to reveal more of the entanglement between the materials and the meaning they have beyond our touch and interaction. Those hidden layers also carry their own meanings, which are expressed in the size, thickness and colour, but also by the imaginary built around it, by contemporary technological culture.


CHItaly explores the “Frontiers of HCI” through connecting research and geographical areas, and takes place this year as a hybrid physical and digital event including workshops, presentations and Interactive Experiences.

About the artist

Marika Grasso is one of 8 PhD students who joined Lab4Living in October 2019 following the Research England award which focusses on the Future Home and 100 year life. Her research uses art practice to explore the relationship between the human condition, touch and conductive materials.

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