recent work

opening ambience

added lustre removed


the plot the plot

avenue maintain

two striped semi-ornate

epicritical vibrissa


avant lounge exotica


Sunette Viljoen installation view Braunschweig

Mixed media installation

detailcarpet and velvet curve

velvet and found image objects



Epicritical Vibrissa: Ghosts: inkjet prints from solvent transfers; 130 x 260 cm each, 2013
Epicritical Vibrissa: Marble: hand-printed drawing directly on wall, brass; 400 x 350 cm; 2013
Epicritical Vibrissa: Finite curve: carpet, velvet, brass; 15 x 300 x 15 cm; 2013
Epicritical Vibrissa: Skins: inkjet prints on paper; 40 x 90 cm and 50 x 60 cm; 2013
Epicritical Vibrissa: Cross-sections: velvet, carpet, found images, cardboard; 20 x 20 x 10 cm each; 2013
Epicritical Vibrissa: Quires: wood, fabric, inkjet prints, carpet, brass hinges; 35 x 70 x 8 cm and 50 x 100 x 10 cm; 2013

Coined by psychologist James Gibson, epicritical vibrissa refers to the sensory ability that enables a person to accurately determine their surroundings by means of an external aid, instead of direct contact. An example of this is the ability of feeling the subtle variations of an irregular surface by trailing a stick over it. We discern the texture, not at the area of contact between hand and stick where the nerve endings are situated, but at the end of the stick, as though it were an anatomical extension of the body. It refers to the specialisation of the nerves in the hand that engages a combination of muscular and movement sensors. This allows for conscious and unconscious observation of complex sensation not only of surfaces and edges, but also of weight, volume, temperature, density and volume.

(Tuan, Y. 1993. Pleasures of the Proximate Senses in Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics Nature and Culture. Island Press: Washington, p.42.

© Sunette Viljoen 2018