ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is the pseudo-scientific term used to describe a ‘tingly’ physical response that viewers of ASMR videos may experience from watching a combination of auditory, visual and tactile triggers. To explore how this might happen, we examine the experience of ASMR as a technologically-mediated, affective experience, using examples from prominent ASMR artists. We seek to understand this community of ASMR viewers through the disjuncture that exists between the embodied experience of tingles and deep relaxation, and its technologically-mediated delivery. In this paper, we explore ASMR as a mediated affective experience – uniquely shaped by online spaces and their affordances. After providing a brief overview of ASMR videos and creators, we explore how ASMR artists engage in boundary work through the definitions of ASMR that they produce to support a quest for cultural and scientific legitimacy. The practice of naming and defining ASMR creates a site affective 'stickiness’, where affective experiences are intentionally constructed and strategically heightened. Finally, we examine the provocations that research into ASMR may bring an understanding of the senses, affect and technologically-mediated intimacy.
Public space is being increasingly managed by defensive architecture, surveillance and other subtle filtering mechanisms to make it more palatable and attendant to the needs of capital. This reinforces social boundaries, making space inhospitable to those people whose presence is not welcome, and serves to ‘discipline’ city inhabitants into primarily consumption based modes of interacting with and in the city. However, disenfranchised urban populations still find ways to exist in and navigate these spaces. The purpose of this article is to highlight these ways by introducing the concept of ‘desire lines’ as a means of overcoming or re-imagining defensive space. We use Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of desire as productive force, combined with De Certeau’s notion of ‘walking the city’, to explore how individuals and social movements might practically, and in a metaphorical sense, create new collective paths, creating ‘desire lines’ of resistance and change within what is often an increasingly unforgiving and dominated urban environment, created by and for capital at the expense of a vibrant public realm.