The touch table is a student project created as a design experiment in the Products of Design program at the School of Visual Arts.
In the book Antifragile, economist Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes about how systems need stressors in order to grow. According to his antifragile theory, "some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors." Taleb also argues that the body thrives on random stressors. The word hormesis is the term for favorable biological responses to low exposures to stress.
The touch table, made of twelve hundred acupuncture needles, is a vehicle for the topic of antifragility and the benefits of hormesis. The user of the touch table would introduce a ritual of small levels of pain into their life by touching the needles and slowly becoming resistant to the pain. The touch table can cause pain when touched but is also pleasurable when stroked at certain angles.