Tactile Renga
is a series of Renga artworks created by three artists; Takayuki Mitsushima and Rieko Nakamura + Toshihiro Anzai.
Takayuki Mitsushima is a visually impaired artist who explores tangible paintings using adhesive tapes (LetraLine) and sheets as the medium. Nakamura and Anzai are artists internationally recognized for "Renga" since 1992. Renga is an experimental art project to explore the new possibility in collaborative art form employing digital technology. In Renga a digital painting is sent over the network to the other artist where the image will be modified to become a different artwork, which will be sent back for the next step. Based on Japanese tradition of literature, Renga explores a new paradigm of creativity and originality in digital era. The Tactile Renga emerged out of the encounter of these two artistic experiments.

Tactile Renga starts in early 1998 with two of Mitsushima's paintings as the "seeds". Using a scanner each painting would be digitized, and modified by Anzai and by Nakamura on their computers. The new Renga images would then be transformed into tactile forms and sent to Mitsushima for further transformation. Through this process, a "conversation on form" emerged around the issues such as "what is seeing" or "What is touching" .

This process went back and forth over a pair of conversation lines, one between Nakamura and Mitsushima, the other between Anzai and Mitsushima. Viewers can see how the crossbreeding takes place as intentional cross-talk between two lines occur.

Methodology of Tactile Renga
Different from previous Renga series, works were sent via mail delivery service because of the nature of this project. Mitsushima's works were digitized using flat bed scanners to be manipulated on Anzai's and Nakamura's computers. Two types of technology were used to transform Anzai's and Nakamura's digital paintings into tactile form. One is thermal embossing of printed images and the other is the use of a cutting plotter. This plotter, developed for design practice, cuts out the form from adhesive color sheet. Mitsushima freely reconstructs images on his favorite types of paper by physically using elements from Anzai's or Nakamura's works, and adding new elements using adhesive tapes and sheets. The notion of original and copy in digital medium which has been a key issue in Renga reached a new phase in Tactile Renga.

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