• 10.02.17-21.05.17
  • TUE–FRI 12:00–20:00
  • SAT–SUN 12:00–18:00

Tickle Salon

Driessens & Verstappen (NL)

Tickle Salon

You might be familiar with the pleasant experience on a warm summer day in the fields. Long blades of grass, driven by the wind, can softly stroke your skin in a most agreeable manner. You don’t control the tactile stimuli, so you can totally immerse in the actual sensations. If the stimuli were predictable, your body response would not be as intense. This kind of experience occurs very incidentally. You have to be at the right place, at the right time, under the right conditions. Therefore it is interesting to investigate whether it is possible to generate such enjoyable sensations in an artificial way.

Tickle Salon is a robotic installation based on the concept of an automated caress. The participant undresses him/herself, lays down on the bed and starts the session. A soft brush lowers onto the body, and begins to carry out sensitive movements over the skin, generating a variety of pleasant feelings.

The robot does not have any built-in knowledge about human bodies. Instead, it adapts itself by trial and error, feeling its way around. In the beginning of the session, its movements are short and quite clumsy, but they soon become more refined by the touch, resulting in smooth, lingering strokes and delicate touches. You cannot predict where the brush is heading, so the sensations are direct and very lively.


The Amsterdam-based artist couple Driessens & Verstappen (Erwin Driessens and Maria Verstappen) have worked together since 1990. After studying at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, they jointly developed a multifaceted oeuvre of software, machines and objects. Driessens & Verstappen attempt an art in which spontaneous phenomena are created systematically; art that is not entirely determined by the subjective choices of a human being, but instead is generated by autonomously operating processes.

Driessens & Verstappen have participated in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums, including Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam, Centraal Museum Utrecht, LABoral Gijón, IVAM, Neue Pinakothek München, Eyebeam New York and DEAF V2 Rotterdam.

In 2013, the couple received the Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award for their entire body of work. The artists are represented by DAM gallery in Berlin.