“My cheek is folded into his neck. He’s speaking into my ear and I can feel his chest rising and falling against me. This hug is long, gentle, intimate and alien. Thanks to the huge sheet of plastic squeezed between us, covering us from head to toe and several feet further, it’s also completely risk-assessed.” – The Guardian
In the Summer of 2020 Dante or Die’s Artistic Directors came across photographs of plastic hug tunnels in Brazilian care homes: plastic curtains with plastic arm-holes that allow two people to hug one another safely. They enabled elderly people to hug their loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic. It struck a nerve, and inspired the company to make a one-on-one performance installation exploring the role of touch in our lives, which could be performed live during the pandemic. Skin Hunger is about the power of touch – a vital aspect of humanity that so many of us didn’t realise we needed until it was restricted.
The company invited pioneering writers Ann Akinjirin, Tim Crouch & Sonia Hughes, to respond to the idea with a piece of writing that would integrate the physical act of touch into the performance. Crucially, each piece of writing simply cannot be performed without an audience member sharing the space with a performer.
This book includes each writer’s piece of writing, reflections from the creative team, a foreword from a neuroscientist specialising in touch and images from the original production that took place in a hidden chapel in London’s West End in June 2021.