iTouch Store

Ads pop up before my eyes. I click on it and find myself in a visual variety of products, specially tailored for me on the basis of my previous clicks. It seems I clicked on some fucked stuff some time ago… Browsing through these products — even without buying them — gives me a certain pleasure, as if I am in a cabinet of curiosities.

The thought, that my attention can be switched so easily from text reading to online shopping is slightly shameful. I am thinking about installing an ad-block. But then I won’t be able to see all this exotic follies rising from the bottom of the Internet.

Who am I — a user or a creator? I promise myself to translate these pop-up ads into jewellery. It is unlikely, however, that something critical can come out of that, as I am deep in this shit, but I like the smell.

poster for the “iTouch Store” exhibition, 2019, design by Johanna Ruukholm.


The “iTouch Store” exhibition explores touch as a part of digital culture: the tactility of digitally transmitted jewellery images, given the excessive focus on the phone and the screen.

The jewellery and objects at the exhibition are meant to solve the potential problems of the digital age. The titles of the work speak for themselves: “Hot Not Only Online Phone Case”, “Silicon Nail for Touching Screen”, “Digital Detox Brush”, etc.

The audience can also see the works in their representations — in the form of a video ad where the author attempts to find answers to the following questions: Can the digital representation of the jewellery have tactile features? How does the digital representation of jewellery affect real jewellery on a tactile level? and, How does the use of digital media change the relationship between jewellery and tactility?

The exhibition is laid out as a shop and this is not accidental. Media critic Erkki Huhtamo brings a parallel between a museum and a shop, the tradition of which is related to “tactiloclasms” — tactile rules and prohibitions in public places. Similarly to the old days where you could have access to the product in a shop only with the help of a shop assistant, in the exhibition room touching the jewellery is not permitted due to security requirements. Namita Gupta Wiggers, the jewellery historian, spoke of the fact that jewellery perception in the museum is limited to the vision, while the potential destination of the jewellery is the body.

Replacing the sense of touch with the vision continues in the Internet age. Darja Popolitova notes that she has been inspired by AliExpress e-shop ads: “While I was going deeper into the meaning of the term “tactile visuality offered by Laura U. Marks, everything came together in my head: I treat the images of the products with a certain plasticity — my eyes do not see, but “touch” these images. That is why I decided to explore the tactile properties of the images of jewellery with the given exhibition.”


Darja Popolitova was born in 1989 in Sillamäe and lives and works in Tallinn. She is currently doing a PhD at Estonian Academy of Arts. Darja designs jewellery using innovative technologies and mixed media. Recently, she has participated in exhibitions at the Art and Design Museum in New York (2019), the Kunstnerforbundet gallery in Oslo (2018) and the fourth biennial of contemporary jewellery, METALLOphone in Vilnius (2018). Darja Popolitova is represented by the following galleries: Marzee in Nijmegen, Beyond in Antwerp, and Door in Mariaheide. Her work is included in the collection of the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design and also in private collections. The work of Darja Popolitova was awarded the scholarships of the Ministry of Culture and Adamson-Eric in 2018. She also received the scholarship of Young Jewellery in 2015.

Video: Ando Naulainen

Sound Design: Andres Nõlvak

Graphic Design: Johanna Ruukholm

Artist’s gratitude goes to 3DKoda OÜ, Anne Vetik, A-Gallery, Adamson-Eric Museum, Anastassia Dratšova, Benjamin Lignel, Heli Haav, Hannes Aava, Daniil Popov, Doctoral School of Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Kadri Mälk, Keiu Krikmann, MakerLab Tallinn, Martina Gofman, Olesja Kulikova, Orbital Vox Stuudiod, Pire Sova, Raivo Kelomees, Sarah Elizabeth Johnston, Shapeways Inc., Varvara Guljajeva, Vladimir Ljadov.

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

Anti-Clicking Spike
brooch 2019
3D-modelled, 3D-printed, chromed bioplastic, silver, silicon wafer
This emerald green chromed brooch will minimize your urge to click. Apply it by pricking your body when about to click to another unnecessary link.

Bracelet for Handshake
silicon wafers, silver, steel; logo is 3D-modelled, 3D-printed, cast in silver
The bracelet stimulates physical contact with a person. It is patterned of silicon wafers that activate in the way of a hand shake, inciting the feeling of mutual attractions IRL.

Shorts for Erotic Kiss
embroidered lycra hosiery
These custom shorts have special holes for waking you up to reality. Put them on and use your buttocks as a site for triggering desire.

Earrings for Cleaning off Fingerprints
3D-modelled, 3D-printed, chromed bioplastic, silver
Every digital inscription leaves a trace even if only at the nano level.
You can trust that the surfaces of the earrings can be cleaned of all your traces.

Chromed Nails for Touching Screen
3D-modelled, 3D-printed, chromed bioplastic, silver
These nails have aesthetic purpose and are made for stylish scrolling, tapping or zooming on your phone screen.

Digital Detox Brush
neckpiece 2019
modelled in clay, 3D-scanned, 3D-modelled, 3D-printed, chromed bioplastic, silver, textile, cosmetic brush
It will heal you from senseless wandering and procrastination on the Internet. This synthetic brush is impregnated with smart electrolytes which free your mind from the digital rubbish seen during the day. Apply with slow movements to the face.

Silicon Nail for Touching Screen
3D-modelled, 3D-printed, cast silicon, silver
Besides the aesthetic purpose of the nails, there is practical one; made from soft silicon they will not prevent you from scrolling, tapping or zooming on your phone screen.

Hot Not Only Online Phone Case
3D-modelled, 3D-printed, dyed nylon
This phone case will make you hot not only online. It is easy — put your camera-lamp on and apply this light once a day with your best picture from Instagram.

“iTouch Store” is the video series which show tactile interactions with the jewellery while referring to commodification culture, more specifically to online shopping. The jewellery and objects in the video are advertised by giving them magical properties as intended solutions of the potential problems of the Digital Age. The titles of the artworks worn by the author in the video include (in sequence): “Hot Not Only Online Phone Case”, “Bracelet for Handshake”, “Silicon Nail for Touching Screen”, “Digital Detox Brush”, “Earrings for Cleaning off Fingerprints”, “Short for Erotic Kiss”, “Anti-Clicking Spike.”

stills from “iTouch Store” video, 2019

The video work was developed in cooperation with Ando Naulainen (video), Andres Nõlvak (sound), and Johanna Ruukholm (graphic design).

Exhibits Hot Not Only Online Phone Case and Silicon Nail for Touching Screen are homages to Nadja Buttendorf’s sections on Youtube “Hot Phones — High-tech Selfcare” (2018) and “Soft Nails” (2016).

all photo credits: Darja Popolitova

other links: @konsta_netJohanna Ruukholm’s IGAndo Naulainen’s IG

Further Projects