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you feel soft, directed by Cameron Kletke
Program 4: April 23 at 3pm


you feel soft, directed by Cameron Kletke, is a film that embraces the strengths of haptic visuality to communicate a profound sense of texture. When viewed through the lens of Laura Mark's crucial text on haptic visuality, The Skin of the Film, we see that this film calls to the audience to use “the eyes themselves [to] function like organs of touch” (162).*


The entire film consists of a grayscale color palette, opting to place the emphasis on the movement and texture of the piece rather than the color. The animation was created through the use of charcoal, introducing many smears and fuzzy lines all throughout invoking a wide range of textures. Shortly after the title sequence, the smears form an outline of a hand, alluding to the very processes that created it.


A wide range of imagery follows as we see stick figures, a vertical line that splits into two parallel circles that quickly rupture into smaller circles that devolve into scribbles that engulf the screen. In only a second, the scribbles consume all, yet they continue to form; darkening the screen bit by bit, and giving way to an increasingly grimy texture. Then a black wave sweeps over the image and replaces it entirely. The following images are no longer drawings on a canvas, but carvings in a sculpture. It introduces depth not just in a blank canvas, but in a color we associate with total nothingness. 


The constant sense of change gives the viewer a glimpse of the blissful act of creation, and how it feels to be in control of it. The dark smears of charcoal in one’s hands, and how it has a smooth, almost soft quality on the palm. The faintly bumpy texture of the paper and the way it prevents solid strokes of color, with smears frequently forming as you fill in the rest of the page. Like the imperfections of claymation, the style of the art form is a constant reminder that human hands were involved in its creation– reinforced by the use of hands in the film’s imagery. It creates an intimate relationship between the audience and the artist. Even without leading the act of creation, the film makes it readily apparent that “a sensuous engagement with a tactile … image is pure affection” (Marks 163). 


Combining the art form of charcoal drawings with the qualities of animation “brings us to the direct experience of time through the body” (Marks 163). The way the image evolves over the course of the film is not just mesmerizing; it depicts growth, destruction, and creation simultaneously. It is a chameleon warping to meet the canvas’ demands. The inky blackness overwhelms the page, only to give way to a blank frame shortly after. It is a war of palettes fighting for control, and the same general leads both sides.


Ultimately, the film demonstrates that it is “the viewer [that] must bring his or her resources of memory and imagination to complete them. The haptic image forces the viewer to contemplate the image itself instead of being pulled into narrative” (Marks 163) in order to engage with the material successfully. There is a rich world of textile sensation within you feel soft, inviting the audience to reach out and touch it.

*Marks, Laura, and Dana Polan. The Skin of the Film. Duke University Press, 2000.

-Connor Newman, WOEFF Intern and BFA Film Production '23, Oklahoma City University

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