Cityscape

Reflections on play

These days of busy holiday businesses, long to-do lists, cold mornings and bodies in thick black winter coats rushing up and down the streets in relentless search for perfect objects to buy and consume, a word keeps rumbling in my mind:

Leg [ˈlɑjˀ]

In Danish, this does not refer to one of the two body parts that connect your feet and your torso. It means play, or game.

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Leg. Lege. Legende. Legesyg. Legeplads. Legekammerat. Legebetingelser. 
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Play. Plays. Playing. Playful. Playground. Playmate. Play conditions.  

The playful body

When was the last time you shared a playful moment with someone?

A couple of weeks ago I was in a four day workshop with two lovely teachers from Teatro de los Sentidos – an internationally acclaimed theater company, who for decades has been making immersive, sensorial theater plays with an actively involved audience.

Theatre play. The connection between play and performance is obvious here. In Danish, not the word play, but the word “stykke” (piece), is traditionally used about a piece of drama. However, the Danish word “forestilling” (imagination) can as well be used as a synonym for the theatrical performance.

So, we can say: “I saw the imagination (at this or that theater), and really liked it”

Imagination. Play.

In the workshop, Theatro de los Sentidos kept circling around the intention of creating an imaginary. How spaces can be transformed into imaginaries. How rooms, houses, nests, and other built spaces can encapsulate and evoke dreams.  How this is crucial for their method of creating sensorial journeys where the audience is the protagonist.

The workshop became such an imaginary in itself. For four days, we played countless games. Mostly they were plain, simple children’s games, but they made us laugh, sweat, loosen up and become better listeners. (When was the last time you played hide and seek with someone at your own age? Try it!). We immersed in countless blindfolding practices. And we explored countless rooms in the old, historical buildings of the workshop venue, and made short experiences for each other. Most of the time we worked inside, then at last going out for a while on the last morning. For me, the closed non-space of the theater black box was beautifully contrasted by a stunning winter landscape outside. There is magic in this dark, slow time of the year.

Thank you, Teatro de los Sentidos and Den Danske Scenekunstskoles Efter- og Videreuddannelse, for the (re)treat.

 

The playful city

In the unfolding of Sensescapes, my interest is mainly in how to implement methods from artistic fields of sensorial performance and body work in the everyday lives of everyday people, who work, move and live in everyday surroundings.

In other words: If embodied, sense-based knowledge is as equally important as rational, scientifically based knowledge, how can sensation, sensitivity and sensuousness become more present in our private lives, our homes, work places and  – not the least – in the public space, that we share?

In November, a shared sensescape was created in public, as a Sensescapes workshop was held at the water front of Aarhus, in and around the temporary urban space Dome of Visions. It was part of a three-day urban laboratory program, centered in the fundamental question: How do we create a livable city? (See the whole program here)

Familiar and unfamiliar participants came to explore the space and transform the area through sensorial intervention. The frame of the sensorial workshop was simple as always: After a brief introduction, the participants paired up and tuned into each other’s presence for a moment. Then they set off to investigate impulsively together, hand in hand, without words. One was blindfolded, the other not.

This time, a special emphasis was put on the equality of participation. In any game, so much power lays in the few sentences of instruction! In the intro, I therefore asked the participants to act on their impulses, no matter if their were blindfolded or not. The intention was to create a clear frame for potential curiosity and action to grow. Instead of a blind citizen, waiting for a seeing guide to lead them somewhere, the couples were encouraged to become one joined, impulsive, investigative, playful body.

The game began. Within minutes, individual and shared sensescapes arose.

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Sound play. Photo: Thea Green

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Role play. Photo: Thea Green

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Jump. Photo by Helle Arensbak, Dome of Visions. Take a look at Dome of Visions’ article about the laboratory, for more of her beautiful photos from the workshop.

Later the same day, a few of us blindfolded ourselves and curiously engaged the inside of the dome for a while.

Slowly. In silence. Alone.

 

In a debate on the last day of the laboratory, we re-posted the question: What is a liveable city?

Engaged debate participants suggested various answers to the question. A liveable city is a co-shapable city, a place with diversity, with green areas, with spots to breathe, with respectful meetings, a place where individuals have a sense of belonging.

And so on.

What would you answer?

What is a city worth living in, for you?

Homo Ludens

In 1938 the Dutch cultural theorist Johan Huizinga published Homo Ludens. A study of the play element in culture.  In the book he argues that play is not only a fundamental phenomenon in human culture and society, in fact, “culture itself bears the character of play” (from foreword in J. Huizinga, 1949: Homo Ludens, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd). I have still to read the whole book, but as with many great theoretical books, reading the first couple of pages already brings plenty of food for thought:

[…]even in its simplest forms on the animal level, play is more than a mere physiological phenomenon or a psychological reflex. It goes beyond the confines of purely physical or purely biological activity. It is a significant function-that is to say, there is some sense to it. In play there is something “at play” which transcends the immediate needs of life and imparts meaning to the action. All play means something. If we call the active principle that makes up the essence of play, “instinct”, we explain nothing; if we call it “mind” or “will” we say too much. However we may regard it, the very fact that play has a meaning implies a nonmaterialistic quality in the nature of the thing itself.

(Chapter 1, page 1)

… a nonmaterialistic quality in the nature of the thing itself! This corresponds wonderfully with the theoretical background of Sensescapes, where the aesthetic is regarded as an intentional search for impulsive perception with no other aim or agenda than the aesthetic experience itself. Thus, throughout the last months, is has become clear to me that the essence of Sensescapes is play. To playfully explore a relational world that is present in this moment, with and through the body, with and because of each other.

But what can you use it for?  Nothing! Sensescapes is useless! It wants to be useless! It intends nothing else than – borrowing Huizinga’s words – transcending the immediate needs of life in the here and now. No hidden evaluation forms. No efficacy measurement. No promise of life changing fitness results, and obviously no materialistic gains. Sensescapes intend to facilitate playful relations between bodies and their surroundings with no other aim than the powerful force of play in itself.

These are the good news.

The bad news is that this work-and-life philosophy is having a seriously hard time in real, actual, globalized life.

As I write these words, news are constantly throwing bombs of depressing information from all over the world. Horrified, dust-covered children from Aleppo. A truck driver killing randomly at a Christmas market in Berlin. Wars, refugees, climate crisis, natural catastrophes, terror, political madness, suspicion, inequality, trauma.

Have our world lost its playfulness?

Let’s hope not. Recently I met a great guy who is founder of the locally based Counterplay Festival. We chatted about play, and he said, almost in a side comment, that playing is highly political.

Of course it is. Perhaps more than ever.

In a time of too much hopelessness, despair and desperation, let us be deadly serious in bringing back playfulness to society. If playing together is transcending the immediate needs of life, play is not only for kids. It is for everyone. I dare even say, it is a human right to play.

With wishes of a seriously playful midwinter season,
and a New Year of hopeful togetherness,
Lotus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: aesthetics, Blindfolding, Cityscape, Playfulness, Workshop | 1 Comment

Exciting summer news from Sensescapes

A New Era

WITH GRATEFUL SHOUTS OF JOY, it is a tremendous pleasure to announce the long awaited birth of Sensescapes as a sense laboratory, officially organized as an association where YOU can become a member.

This is our fundament:

  • Sensescapes is a laboratory for multisensorial exploration.
  • The aim of Sensescapes is to inspire people to become more sensuous, sensible and sensing in their everyday life.
  • The laboratory seeks to provide, facilitate and develop sustainable activities with aesthetic quality. 

Everyone who agrees with the above principles, can become a member of the Sensescapes association.

The official founding happened last week. On a wet summers’ day, six dedicated souls joined around the wooden dining table in my living room on fourth floor in the middle of Aarhus. Our purpose was to bring the work of Sensescapes to its next level.

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Regulations for our association where written. Papers where signed and a wonderful board constituted itself. The leaders of the Sensescapes association are now:

Chairman: Inger Kærgaard, teacher, biologist and environmental activist with special love for trees (read an interview with her here)
Vice Chairman: Lauge Rasmussen, MA in Experience Economy and co-founder of Pitcherific.com
Treasurer: Jacob Vibe, forester and owner of Vibes Træpleje
Board member: Ida Krøgholt, lector and Ph.D. at department of Dramaturgy, Aarhus University
Board member: Pernille Kølbæk, Ba in Aesthetics and Culture, MA in Experience Economy, project manager at LEGO

 

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Signing the regulations of the association of Sensescapes.

With this lovely, diverse leadership group, and with myself as daily caretaker and developer of the laboratory, Sensescapes is now open for new experiments, new encounters, new immersions and new horizons.

Thrilling.

Would you like to become a member and supporter of the laboratory? Then read more about membership here.

Exploring taste – eating the local

In the spirit of sustainable, sensory encounters with the everyday, a little experiment was made for the meeting. It began with a restriction: All servings was to be made only from locally grown ingredients. Usually my shopping basket contains lots of things that has been shipped from all over the world. By changing my natural behavior with this one-time restriction, I wanted to explore the personal changes in food perception and eating experience. Since I live in the middle of the city and own no garden, this seemed like a fitting challenge for an exploration of the local.

It was midsummer. I took my bike and a couple of books about edible plants and went along Brabrandstien, a path running alongside a lake just outside the city.

This is what I found and brought home:

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What Brabrandstien could not provide, I found and bought at the local farmers market and in local stores.

Coming home, another major change appeared. Usually I do not spend hours in the kitchen. Here there was no choice but to follow the speed of slow preparation. Chopping, baking, cooking, mixing, washing, cutting, spreading, sniffing, arranging, saving, waiting, tasting.

As hours went by, food preparations evidently became a sensory meditation. Not meditation in the sense of relaxing wellness, but in the sense of focused awareness of the present beings, movements, scents, colors and emotions in the here-and-now.

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In my living room the board meeting was at its end. In the kitchen, food was ready.

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Dinner was served

Værsågod (here you go):

Cherries from Brabrandstien.
Homebrewed mead from our wedding two years ago. Strawberries from Samsø. Apple juice from Fyn, and beer from Den Gamle By.
Beets from a nearby field, slowly baked with onion and chili from a family member’s green house.
Nettles and beet tops stewed in homemade butter from the local farmers market and cream from the south of Jutland.
Salats with potatoes from Samsø and goat cheese from Horsens, topped with rapeseed oil from the north of Jutland, and various flowers from around.

Plus some more.

In my home we have an everyday ritual of holding hands and saying thanks for the food before eating dinner. Not as a religious prayer, but as a mindful verbalization of the long procedure of growing, picking, sending, buying, making and sharing the food.

This night, performing the daily practice of gratitude made deeply sense. For the first timer ever at a dinner table, I had an actual, embodied knowledge of the origin of nearly every single ingredient on the table. The presentation took a while, as I listed all the things and the places they had grown or been made.

After hours of talking, the atmosphere shifted as we started eating. Collectively we fell into tune with each of our sensation of the time demanding preparation and the appearance of the food for our eyes, tongues and hands. It was a pleasure.

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A few days later, I read a short book about taste by the Danish food anthropologist Susanne Højlund. She describes taste as a multisensorial phenomenon, not only a sense located in our mouth, but involving all parts of our body. Besides the sensory stimulation of eating, she adds, taste is also a culturally situated experience, colored by our expectations, the history of the food, and the social aspect of sharing it (Højlund, Susanne, 2016: “Smag”, Aarhus University Press). This approach stems perfectly with my experience of our meal. For me, the meal became a full-body sensation of eating a piece of Danish summer.

With great hope for future projects and explorations to come!

Lotus

 

 

Categories: aesthetics, Birth, Cityscape, Country side, Dreams, Euphoria, Gratitude, Motivation, PR, Process, Sensorial meditation, Short experiment | Leave a comment

Without seeing you can be transported everywhere

Memories from a workshop session in Barcelona

About a year ago, a Sensescapes workshop was facilitated in Barcelona, in Parc de La Ciutadella, as part of Experimental Room Festival – a festival with human/time/site specific performances and workshops, curated and organized by Atelier Escènic Stoyanova.

Six lovely Barcelonian souls participated. One of them had brought her mother, who had never tried anything like this before. Some were artists in the performance field. Some spoke English, some not, so one of the participants also functioned as my translator.

We had two wonderful hours together. The participants curiously inhabited the park and investigated playful ways of embodied relation to each other, to the ground, the plants, other park guests, and to all other sensorial components in our momentary sensescape.

During our time together, each participant had the change to be led blindfolded and to be guiding someone else. Every exploration session ended with a short feedback, where the participants paused from their silence for a while, and shared three words to describe their immidiate impression of their experience. Afterwards I have had their notes with the three keywords translated from Spanish to English, so today I can re-read what they said.

Here is a glimpse of the atmosphere around our workshop in the park that day.

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And here are some of the feedback notes:

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I like the way impressions are mixed and open to interpretation in these feedback notes.

Listening. Frightening. The Unknown.

Hugging trees. Seeds. Water.

Wonderful.

Attention.

Tendernes. Trust.

Fantasy, memories, time travels. Why time travels? Because with eyes closed you can be transported everywhere. Countries, landscape, childhood…

The urge to speak and be in contact with something honest, primal and profound.

Sensescapes contains it all.

Thanks to Experimental Room Festival for making this happen. By the way, this years’ festival is just around the corner, so if you happen to be in Barcelona, you might want to take a look at their program.

With hope of many more blindfolded explorations to come,
Lotus

 

Categories: Blindfolding, Cityscape, Feedback, perception, Playfulness, Workshop | 1 Comment

Dreams, openings, connections

Today I did a guided baby walk in my neighbourhood. Nine mothers with nine babies in nine baby carriages made a spectacular body of moving legs, wheels and heads in the grey morning of Aarhus city centre. Together we explored some local gems: an old crypt, a hidden garden, a hip street transformed from slum, a mysterious pig monument and at last a café with more breastfeeding customers than not.

Doing guided walking tours the classical way is not directly connected to Sensescapes, but the stream of intention underneath is the same: To raise awareness of our everyday surroundings, getting embodied experiences of the things, beings and events that are already there. As the test walk today was a success, I intend to do a series of them this coming summer and fall. If time and space allow it. So stay tuned!

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As days come and go, new connections appear. I was honoured to be contacted by my main theoretical inspiration source for the master thesis about Sensescapes, Professor in Human Geography Edmunds Bunkse from Latvia. A kindred spirit, he concluded from our chat.

Yes. New dreams and visions of local and cross-country connections are slowly, slowly being formed:

A former fellow student, asking to pair up and share the depths of knowing life and death from a sensitive mind’s perspective. A soul to walk with in the everyday challenges.

A British artist in the inbox, encouraging Sensescapes to visit a festival of senses in London next year.

Sudden meetings like this one. Sudden openings.

A visit in the beautiful building Dome of Visions, which will soon move from Copenhagen to Aarhus to become a frame for experimental practices, dreams and creative events. Perhaps Sensescapes could and should contribute…

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A gift from a generous landscape enthusiast and artistic director: 4 days residence in the soft landscape of Mols Bjerge in June, on the farm where I have been researching, playing and working so many times now. I will go there with my little family and see what creativeness the land will inspire.

Gifts, ideas, encouragement, sprouts.

And through it all, a constant state of motherhood relations, preoccupying the mind with strangely down-to-earth impulses: Little one, are you tired? Hungry? Bored? Impatient? Hands, eyes, ears, nose, mouth and feet completely immersed in tiny sensations. Now we dwell in the living room together, now the bed, or the bathroom, or the local park, or a train. Without further notice, I have become an all-time facilitator of the babyscape created and maintained by the presence of my daughter’s curious discovering of the world. My world becomes her world and vice versa. What a responsibility.

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Next week we will travel across the Atlantic to make new experiences and reconnect with older generations. There is still some time before maternity leave ends and I will have an opportunity to turn (some… a few) dreams into real projects. Let’s see. Let’s see.

Oh, and did I mention this blog has been referred to in a (not-very-intellectual) Danish weekly magazine for middle aged women doing needlework and handicrafts? No kiddin’. A journalist from “Hendes Verden” called and asked to use a photo of a cairn my husband did in Iceland in the magazine. I said yes and so Sensescapesblog.wordpress.com is now to be found in a cheasy section about creativity online, along with adds for DIY table cloths and coffee scrub:

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Surprises and openings in all directions! To be continued when summer is around the corner.

See you!

Lotus

 

 

Categories: Birth, Cityscape, Country side, Dreams, Motivation, Playfulness, Process | Leave a comment

From landscape to sensescape

What is a landscape? How do you relate to your landscape? How do landscapes affect us?

Departing in phenomenology’s notion of the body and the world as inseparable, I approach the term landscape as an entrance to a specifically embodied conceptualization through the following three statements:

A) Landscape as relation.

As the philosopher Christopher Tilley has pointed out, using the term landscape in a phenomenological perspective will appear antithetical to the conventional Western understanding, where landscape is “[…]implying separation and disinterested analytical observation, a particular way of seeing exemplified in the linear techniques of perspective developed in landscape painting since the Renaissance[…]” (Tilley 2004:24). A search in the Oxford Dictionary confirms that landscape is still first and foremost understood as a picture, a painting, a view, a scenery, a map, a background or simply just “the object of one’s gaze”, depicting a piece of mostly natural inland (www.oed.com). This understanding, argues Tilley, is turned around in a phenomenological idea of landscape defined as “perceived and embodied sets of relationships between places, a structure of human feeling, emotion, dwelling, movement and practical activity within a geographical region which may or may not possess precise topographic boundaries or limits” (ibid.:25). From such a perspective, landscape is understood radically different than visual representations of beautiful, natural scenarios. It is not some object in front of my gaze, but a continuous dynamic process of relation between my embodied being and the being of my surroundings in “a consideration of fluidity, transition and motion” (Benediktson and Lund, 2010:3).

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Relations. Participant: Søren. Photographer: Christine Fentz

B) Landscape as more-than-human.

Phenomenologically speaking, landscape can also be understood as a dynamic relation between the human and the non-human. In the philosopher David Abram’s ecology, this implies a form of radical conversation, where “[t]he landscape as I directly experience it, is hardly a determinate object; it is an ambiguous realm that responds to my emotions and calls forth feelings from me in return” (Abram 1997:33). Continuing this conversation metaphor, geographer and anthropologist Karl Benedikson and Katrin Anna Lund defines landscape as a continuous dialogue between interdependent entities, in which: […]landscape implies a more-than-human materiality; a constellation of natural forms that are independent of humans, yet part and parcel of processes bywhich human beings make their living and understand their own placing in the world” (Benediktsson and Lund 2010:1). Because landscape is both shaped by human but also shaping the human, it is a more-than-human constellation that, after all, remains undisciplined (ibid.:9). Benediktsson and Lund goes as far as to state that landscape is “not comprehended as a predetermined, culturally contrived “text”, but as a conversational partner[…]” (ibid.:8) Now, if landscape connections can be seen as conversations or dialogues, how can such connections take place and how can they be experienced? This is part of my investigation.

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More-than-human. Participant: Birthe. Photo: Rasmus Malling Lykke Skov

C) Landscape as multisensorial.

My intention in the process of creating and facilitating sensorial walks with blindfolded participants, is to test and practice the geographer Edmunds Bunkse’s concept of landscape as “a unity in one’s surroundings, percieved through all the senses” (Bunkse 2007:222). This theoretical starting point adopts landscape as “embodied practices of being in the world, including ways of seeing but extending beyond sight to both a sense of being that includes all the senses and an openness to being affected” (Dewsbury and Cloke 2009: 696).

Now, landscape becomes multisensorial. It becomes sensescapes. In David Howes’ anthropology of senses, sensescapes is defined as the idea that the experience of the environment and of the other persons and things which inhabit the environment, is produced by a particular mode of distinguishing, valuing and combining the senses in the culture under study” (Howes 2005:143). An anthology by the philosopher Madalina Diaconu a.o., uses the term in the title “Senses and the city. An interdisciplinary approach to urban sensescapes” (2001). Surprisingly it does not seem to undergo any further definition in the book, though Diaconu do seem to encourage the same sensory revolution as Howes and Bunkse (Diaconu 2001:7, Howes 2005:1, Bunkse 2012:12). With Bunkse, however, the concept moves from an anthropological to a geographical-philosophical approach to landscapes as home. Departing in his own history as a Latvian emigrant trying to find his feet in the States, he states:

[…]contact with our primal nature is in more than pretty pictures or designs of landscapes. Pictures are abstractions, we do not enter the landscape by gazing at it and taking ever more pretty pictures of it. Having a handful of thorny needles from a devil’s club may hurt for a week, but it is thus that one becomes part of a landscape. It is how familiarity is acquired with many other sensory aspects of wild landscapes that Canadians fondly refer to as the “bush”. And familiarity makes the heart fonder. It then feels at home (Bunkse 2007:14)

Bunkse makes a crucial point that the dominance of pictures and words in our Western culture has moved us away from contact with our primal nature (ibid.:221). This refers to the phenomenology of perception as a movement back to a naive and sensuous contact with the world. Primarily I – the phenomenological “I” – am a sensing body. I smell. I touch and grab things. I eat. I am cold and warm. I constantly orientate myself by my senses. I hear directions, taste if the food is good or bad, observe the ground with my feet and store knowledge about places in my nostrils. Bunkse’s sensory turn moves away from objectification and distance in a paradigm of words and images, and towards new (or old) ways of encountering and relating to the landscape as home. Inspired by this approach, I suggest a definition in this thesis, of sensescapes as a landscape inhabited and experienced through a multisensory mode of being with and in the world. My proposal of a movement from a concept of landscape to a concept of sensescapes, leads to the production of Sensescapes as a multisensorial connection between the self, other selves and the surrounding land, and as a method of inhabiting and experiencing one self and one’s surroundings in the same movement.

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Smellscape. Participant: Stephan. Photo: Rasmus Malling Lykke Skov

(The text is an excerpt from the introduction chapter in the master thesis I am currently working on, titled: “Sensescapes. The Phenomenology of Sensorial Landscape Connections”)

References:

Abram, David, 1996, The Spell of the Sensuous. Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World, Vintage Books, New York

Benediktsson, Karl and Lund, Katrin Anna, 2010: “Introduction: Starting a conversation with Landscape” in Benediksson, Karl and Lund, Katrin Anna, Conversation with Landscape, University of Iceland, Ashgate

Bunkse, Edmund, 2007, “Feeling is believing, or landscape as a way of being in the world” in Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography: Geografiska Annaler, Series B, Volume 89Issue 3pages 219–231

Bunkse, Edmunds, 2012, Sensescapes: or a Paradigm Shift from Words and Images to All Human Senses in Creating Feelings of Home in Landscape” in Landscape, Architecture and Art. Proceedings of the Latvia University of Agriculture, Volume 1, Number 1, p. 10-15

Dewsbury, J.D. and Cloke, Paul, 2009, Spiritual landscapes: existence, performance and Immanence, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol , Bristol, BS8 1SS, UK file:///C:/Users/acer/Desktop/Dewsbury.pdf

Diaconu, Madalina, Heuberger, Eva, Mateus-Berr, Ruth and Vosicky, Lukas Marchel, 2011, Senses and the City: An interdisciplinary approach to urban sensescapes, LIT Verlag

Howes, David, 2005, Empire of the senses, Bloomsbury Academic

Tilley, Christopher, 2004, The Materiality of Stone. Explorations in Landscape Phenomenology: 1, Berg

Categories: Blindfolding, Cityscape, Country side, Landscape Dialogues, Thesis experiment | Leave a comment

Sensescapes in Aarhus#3

On a hot and sunny Saturday in April, Tanja and I set out to explore the Botanical Garden of Aarhus together.

She was the last blindfolded walker of the 15 that have participated in my thesis experiment.

There were A LOT of talking, walking, running, curiously observing, playing and sun bathing humans in the park that day.
And bird life.
And dogs.
Horse carriages, even.
Do you know how distinct a smell such a thing has?

We walked through them all in silence. And from the feedback afterwards, it appears we both had a great time, exploring the sensescape of the busy park.

Tanja even climbed a tree and unintentionally swung herself in a branch!

I will take this opportunity to give my deepest thanks to all the involved hands, bodies, brains and other landscapes that has been a part of the series of walks hosted by Secret Hotel.

Thanks to Christine Fentz, Line Rostrup Henningsen, Rasmus Skov, Birthe Krag, Søren Fiskaali Gammelmark, Martabolette Stecher, Annette Trap Friis, Helle Trap Friis, Jacob Vibe, Ada Holst Pallesen, Anette Kærgaard, Malene Dyrberg, Tanja Schmidt, Stephan Gustin, Lauge Rasmussen, Tanja Vestergaard and Trine Vestergaard.

Thanks to the wind, the sun, the farm, the hills and the park.

You have all been wonderful to work with.

May your days be drenched in sensorial encounters!

Peace and light,
Lotus

Participant: Tanja. Photographer: Trine Vestergaard

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Categories: Blindfolding, Cityscape, Closeness, Euphoria, Gratitude, Landscape Dialogues, Thesis experiment, Trust | Leave a comment

Impressions from the blindfolded walkers

Sensescapes has officially ended as a thesis experiment. Within the last three weeks there has been 15 sensorial walks in Mols Bjerge and Aarhus. I am delighted to say that the concept has been developed, tested and found fit for future practices! Slowly adjusting to the academic office life, I am now dreaming about more walks, more playfulness and much more curious investigation in the (near) future.

As dreams and visions of Sensescapes unfold, it is time to transcribe interviews, look at film recordings, analyze words and pictures, discuss, reflect… and start writing.

As an anchor and lighthouse in the beginning of this process, I open my guestbook.

A small book with big words.

Here it is.

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In the end of all 15 walks, a feedback session have started by asking the participant to verbalize the overall experience they have just been through, with the first 3 words that comes to their mind. These words have then created a basis for our talk about the walk. In the end of each feedback session, the participants – or the walkers, as I would call them by now – have written their specific words in my guest book. Sometimes, by then, they have chosen new words they would think fit their experience better.

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Here is a line of their first 3 (or more) words, the way they are ordered in the guest book. One line for each participant. (Translated from Danish).

Experiences on the old farm in Mols Bjerge:

Wet- Silent – Waves

Different – Intense

Haptic – Playful – Delicate

Magical – Sensuous – Life force

Trust – Calm – Timelessness

Sensuous – Life-affirming – Spring – Rewarding  – Nature

Closeness – Good guiding – Vulnerability

Presence – Warmth – Comfort

Familiar – Great – Shift

Experiences in the Botanical Garden in Aarhus:

Strong emotions – The present moment – Contrasts

Childhood – Unrestrained – Curious

Senses – Curiosity – Trust

Atmospheres in spaces – Intimacy between people – Smells/Sounds

Cool! – Silence – Sensory

Joy – Merging – Childhood memories

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A moment in a feedback session in Mols Bjerge. Participant: Birthe. Photographer: Rasmus Skov.

Later in the feedback sessions, I have asked each participant to describe the specific landscape they have encountered on the walk, also by 3 words. Here are likewise the landscape impressions, also ordered as they are written in the guest book.

Landscapes on the old farm in Mols Bjerge

Farm – Hilly – Weeping willow

Open – Calm – Silent

Succulent – Hilly – Luminous

Fertile – Hilly – Exceptional

Depth – Lightness – Accommodating

Stillness – Eternity – Joy

Countryside idyll – Intimacy

Wild – Magnificent – Calmness

Vital – Calm – Familiar

Landscapes in and around the Botanical Garden in Aarhus:

Spring – Fertile – Human made

Forest – Breathing space – Cultivated

Differences – Senses – Experience

Urban nature – Natural manipulation – Feel hand – Flood of emotions

Terrain – Different  grounds – Sun, summer, spring

Texture – The wind –  Surfaces

 I will not go into analysis here, but let the words create their own associations and curiosity.

With many hours of recorded interviews, hundreds of pictures and a full film recording of one of the walks, I am drowning in interesting, useful, emperical material. It all comes down to these first hand impressions. I am thrilled by the difference in experience and verbalization, and the various emotions and elements the walkers have brought with them to the feedback table. Though a bit overloaded and exhausted from the last weeks, I am so very grateful for the outcome of the project so far. I CANNOT wait to get the thesis writing done, getting ready to do more of this, that I am becoming more and more happy to do.

See you soon!

Peace and light,

Lotus

Categories: Cityscape, Country side, Feedback, Landscape Dialogues, Thesis experiment | 2 Comments

Sensescapes in Aarhus#2

May I present participant nr 4 in Aarhus this week. Stephan is a talented architect and it was a pleasure to investigate the different atmospheres, spaces, tactile surfaces and other sensory aspects of the urban-natural (or naturally urban) landscape with him today.

Mostly we just played around like curious kids.

One of the things I really love about the concept of Sensescapes, is that it creates a possibility for both the participant and me to be playful and enjoy our time together!

May all the pictures from Sensescapes be enjoyable for you and may they become an inspiration to sense, play and investigate more.

Participant: Stephan. Photographer: Rasmus Skov.

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Categories: Blindfolding, Cityscape, Closeness, Landscape Dialogues, Playfulness, Thesis experiment, Touch, Trust | 1 Comment

Sensescapes in Aarhus#1

Spring is under and over and inside my skin!

The feeling of Green. The sound. The smell.

Yesterday I started a week of sensorial walks in Aarhus.

The walks take place in and around the botanical garden in the city center.

A wonderfully various landscape to investigate!

Todays’ participant was curious and brave like a playful child. He almost jumped up in the first tree I showed him!

Unafraid.

Self-confident.

Afterwards he told me how much he loves trees and woods.

His courage was very inspiring.

In the pictures you can probably see what I mean.

(By the way, I have an available walk on Thursday at 13.00)

Participant: Søren. Photographer: Christine Fentz.
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Categories: Blindfolding, Cityscape, Landscape Dialogues, Playfulness, Thesis experiment | Leave a comment

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