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Electric Fingers: immersion, location and presence in capacitive drawing

Notebook Source

Electric Fingers: immersion, location and presence in capacitive drawing

Pattie Belle Hastings

Presenting at the 14th Biennial Arts and Technology Symposium at Connecticut College, February 27, 28 and March 1, 2014.

Excerpt: The phenomenological experience of touch screen drawing differs from than that of analog drawing tools. I sharpen a pencil and apply the point to a surface to make a mark. I see the point and I use the point. Where exactly is the tip of my finger? I am still unable to locate it after having drawn with it for a few years, now. It is really more of a pad than a point - like drawing with a very thick pencil. The mark it makes can be a fine line, but the sensation while drawing is not that of a fine point and I can’t completely determine where the line will go. Programmers call this the “fat finger problem.” The touch location is often offset from the point of contact. The results of this inaccuracy are oddly appealing to me, even as it takes some time to adjust to the sensations. Knowing that I can’t make a perfect line brings a sense of relief – of letting go of perfection. While drawing with my electric finger (or a stylus for that matter), I must surrender any attachment to precision that I might harbor.