To Touch and Be Touched

In a competitive existence we hide our weak spots. When something comes too close, threatens to touch us, we had better shield our vulnerability. However, this means there is less and less room for exchange. Evaluation madness and the constant urge to innovate push people back further and further into a virtual shell. Anyway, we are all just messing about, says Marlies De Munck. She therefore pleads for openness and compassion. Because all this sheltering keeps you from touching. And from being touched. Pascal Gielen warmly advocates an aesthetic skill: the ability to experience, through all our senses, a ramshackle and fragile reality and still see it as a coherent whole. Art, theatre, dance, or music can touch us deeply and unexpectedly, show us new connections, and change rigid opinions. That is the power of art and culture: to reconcile us with life, which can be turbulent, disjointed, and fragile.

Fragility is also available in Dutch as a separate publication with the title Kwetsbaarheid. In order to view and order the Dutch version of this publication, please go to the Dutch page of this publication.

Authors: Marlies De Munck en Pascal Gielen


Drawings and design: Lotte Schröder


April 2022, Valiz | paperback | 64 pp. | 16,7 x 11,5 cm (h x w) | English | ISBN (ENG) 978-94-93246-10-2 | € 7,50

About the authors:

Marlies De Munck is philosopher of culture. She teaches at the Philosophy department of the Antwerp University and at the KASK & Conservatory in Ghent. As a member of the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO) of the Antwerp Research Institute of the Arts (ARIA) she conducts research into the health of culture.

Pascal Gielen is sociologist of culture. He is based at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA) of Antwerp University. There he leads the research group Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO).

Publisher: Valiz