Euphoria

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

Summer update from Sensescapes

A midsummer tale

Oh, what an unintentionally long pause there has been since my last blogpost!

Here’s the main reason:

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Photo: Kirsten Lykke Madsen

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Photo: Martin Wessel

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Photo: Martin Wessel

Ten days ago Rasmus and I got married. We marked the event by establishing a DIY wedding festival in a big camp by the sea. Most of our friends and family stayed for the whole weekend and contributed in the making and celebration. The ceremony was held in an old forest of oaks and beeches in the national park Mols Bjerge – just a few kilometres from the farm were Sensescapes took place in april.

It was one of the most beautiful, meaningful and emotionally overwhelming experiences I have had in my life. We couldn’t have picked a better environment for our union of souls than between old trees, on an old hill, under a shining midsummer sun. Being barefooted in the forest, writing our own vows,  keeping the programme informal and getting friends and family to contribute in different ways… all this resolved in a wonderful, almost magical atmosphere of deep love, care and connection.

I felt completely in my right element, surrounded by rural landscapes and people I love.

And there were strems of tears. From joy, from overwhelmed senses and from gratitude towards the favours, food, words and positive energy exchanged between so many hands and hearts. We had live folk dance music and a great dj and the most luxerious cake buffet seen. We had the sea right outside the door. We had summer solstice and wind and sky. We had a tipi for the wedding night. We had a fine old car borowed from a generous stranger. I had a wedding dress made from hand dyed silk, so light and soft I could have slept in it. We had a room full of yellow balloons, we had tons of fresh strawberries, wonderful speeches, hilarious entertainment, home brewed mead, a lovely, easy-going priest, a choir made for the occasion, and unique rings made from several pieces of golden heirlooms.

I think we were all drunk on love.

It took months of hard work to prepare, and I decided long ago that in June this would be more important than thesis work. And so there has been a pause in the thesis department. A magical pause, that is.

Now, with all the exhaustion and satisfaction that follows such flood of emotions, a slow return to the more analytical and not completely emotional self has begun. Academic life is calling.

Not that Sensescapes had been sleeping entirely. No, there has been life underneath the surface. Still growing, still on its way.

So here’s a short report with news from the sensorial working field:

Debate weekend and a test workshop

By the end of May, Sensescapes participated in Secret Hotel’s Debate Weekend, where around twenty people from interdisciplinary fields in both Denmark and abroad met for three days to encounter, share, discuss and investigate thoughts, themes and pieces related to Landscape Dialogues. For me it was a weekend of profound meetings, bondings and mutual inspiration.

On the last day Sensescapes was tested and found fit for being practised as a workshop! Curious about the importance of shifting surroundings and urban landscapes, the group had moved from Christines’ farm in Mols Bjerge to the cultural production center Godsbanen in Aarhus. And new faces had arrived. Since we did not have time to go through a long introduction, I had Christine interviewing me about the thesis work. Then she was blindfolded and we made a short demonstration of guiding methods in front of the group.

Then they formed groups of two and explored the area for themselves for about half an hour. In each group, one was blindfolded and one was guiding. And there were no words, of course. Same as usual.

It sounds so simple. It IS so simple.

Just put a blindfold on, and you will feel the world change completely.

Since there was no prepared route, all groups went in different directions, which gave us all quite different experiences, facilitating our own urban sensescape. My blindfolded walker and I had great fun and shared lots of laughter, driving each other around in an abandoned shopping cart outside the buildings. When he drove me, we both were out of our comfort zone, which made it even more fun. I had to create a verbal sound system of alarming sounds to signalize danger and communicate with him as our roles of guide and follower became mixed and blurred. Since we had allready spent a couple of days together, and since my blindfolded compagnion was a theatre person who seemed quite comfortable in doing crazy things like this, it became one of the most impulsive and fun sensorial experiences I have facilitated.

I hope to show more pictures from that day later. For now these are all I have:

 

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Photo: Secret Hotel

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Photo: Secret Hotel

In the end we met to briefly share our experiences. One participant asked me:

“Who is experiencing this sensescape you are talking about? The blindfolded person or the guide?”

He suggested that the guide must be more open to a multisensorial experience of the surroundings, since the guide has to have every sense highly activated during the practise of guiding.

That made me think.

So far, guiding has been mostly about facilitation, in my mind. I think this participant made me realize how important the guiding practise is for the door to a sensescape to be opened AND stepped through. I will reflect more on this.

Iceland coming up 

It is a pleasure to announce that I have been granted a student scolarship for participation in Nordic Summer University (NSU) this summer! On their website it says:

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a long-established institution within the Nordic intellectual arena. During more than 50 years of existence it has provided a lively forum for academic and intellectual debate, and involved many leading academics, politicians, and intellectuals from all the Nordic Countries. The NSU has always been at the forefront of intellectual thinking, juxtaposing views from the international and Nordic academic arenas, and introducing new thinking and influences into the Nordic Countries.

Expectations are rising! It will be one week from July 24-31 and it will be in Iceland. I can’t wait to go back to the special landscape that has given me so much.

In top of all this, Secret Hotel has offered to cover half of my travel expenses.

All in all I will conclude that June 2014 has been a month of enourmous gifts. To give and recieve so much makes me feel as rich as ever.

May life affirming exchanges continue to flow, in Sensescapes as in the surrounding lives and atmospheres.

A great summer to all of you!

Lotus

Categories: Blindfolding, Closeness, Country side, Euphoria, Hands, Landscape Dialogues, Secret Hotel, Short experiment, Trust, Workshop | 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

Sensescapes in Mols Bjerge#3

Today will be the last day in my experiment with sensorial walks in Mols Bjerge.

It has been magical.

Sensorial encounters everywhere.

Silence.

Streams and fields of emotions.

Playfulness.

Laugther.

Important states of exploring inner and outer landscapes.

Lovingly wonderful participants.

Today, in the last walk, I will be blindfolded myself. Christine will guide me.

Thanks to all of you: the participants, the photographers, the farm owners, the horses, the buildings, the land. You have made beautiful things happen, and for that I am grateful.

Here are some pictures from walk nr 4 out of 9 this week.

Participant: Martabolette. Photographer: Søren Gammelmark.

See you in two weeks for sensorial walks in Aarhus!

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

Sensuous Knowlegde Production: or A Universe of Inspiration

Important lecture nr. 2 for the thesis student:

You are not alone.

Among many art projects that deals with senses, performance, phenomenology and landscapes, my thesis production is just a small-scale experiment (even though it does not feel like that at the moment). In some way that is revealing to know. I am not attempting to suggest that I have found a new and totally un-investigated field. Many others have traversed the fields of sensorial investigation long before me, exploring these landscapes out of philosophical curiousity and political interest. Even though I will not (at the moment) characterize Sensescapes as theatrical work, I am shaped by experiences with the sensorial theatre of Carte Blanche. And through the last five years, experiences with human specific performance installations of Cantabile 2 and Wunderland have opened a new world of performance art for me (just to mention a few production units based in my own country). Now being a part of Secret Hotels‘  project “Landscape Dialogues” I have placed myself in the midst of another inspiration source. When the mind tunes into the fields of experimental performance, sensorial works (and walks) show up everywhere. Behind these works are passionate and experienced artists, working with non-acting methods, creating sincere and ground-shaking meetings between humans.

Last week I visited another great inspiration source that I have recently discovered. Sisters Academy – a large-scale, combined performance and research project that investigates sensuous knowledge production as a basic teaching methodology in the education system. The project is conducted by Copenhagen based performance group Sisters Hope and the first manifestation of Sisters Academy currently takes place in a high school in Odense, ongoing from Feb. 24- March 7, 2014. In the press release the founders of Sisters Hope explains their purpose with the project:

”The current crisis rhetoric was one of our initial inspirations. To us, as artists and researchers, it is all about exploring what  kind of society we can create in the future. And in this aspect the educational system, where our minds to a large degree are being shaped, is central. In this full-scale experiment we create a parallel world based on art and the aesthetic experience and mode of being as the primary system. This means that the political and economic system has less impact in this world. We are exploring what an educational system would look like if the sensuous and aesthetic were the center of all action and interaction. The school that carry out these explorations we name Sisters Academy.”

Video in Danish, introducing the founders of Sisters Academy:

It was very, very inspiring and touching to be a guest at the academy for a couple of hours. Seeing manifestations like this one come to life in my country, in the education system, right there as a part of 22 teachers’ and 175 students’ everyday school life, is a sign of hope for the future of our society, as I see it.

I feel I am becoming part of a bigger movement with my small experiments of blindfolded walks as a way to enter a sensorial state-of-mind. It is good to know that there are many people around working so whole-heartedly with sensorial perception, acknowledging the importance of a more open, curious and experimental approach to how we learn, live and encounter the world we are part of. Our society is too concerned about economy, growth, competition and measurements. We need other ways of thinking.

Several profound meetings were given to me during the few hours spent in the open house day at Sisters Academy. I met students, teachers, performers and the Sisters who run the academy and spoke with many of them. All of them were honest, kind and deeply connected to what they are doing. In the middle of it all I had a beautiful meeting with my fiancé Rasmus, who is a performer in the project. His character is The S – the silence and the seeker. The S do not speak, but live and search in silence. When I arrived the staff had been performing non-stop for five days. I met The S under a staircase, sitting in a meditation position. I sat down beside him. For a long time he was looking me deeply in the eyes. That moved me to tears. Heartbeats. Tension. Deeply felt love, intensified by the all the words we had not shared for five days, and still could not share.

There is so much powerful potential in the non-verbal conversation.

Later we drove home and Rasmus spoke a lot of his experiences in the week-long performance. On the day before he had walked around blindfolded in the school for the whole day. We reflected on the difference of being blindfolded on your own and being blindfolded and led by someone else. And we talked about the students and teachers who participate as students and teachers in the experimental academy for two weeks. How will they continue their school days when Sisters Academy is over? Will the performance experiment change their approach to learning and teaching?

Could it be that a sensuous paradigme is the future of our school system?
Of our society?
How would it be if that happened?

New doors open. New questions arrive. I will not go into this explicitly in my master thesis. The field is becoming too big for 60 pages. Way too big. But landscapes and paths continue to unfold around the thesis. And after.

Inspiration knows no ends. How disturbingly wonderful to dwell in the universe of poetics for a while.

And then stepping out to reflect upon it.

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The staff of Sisters Academy with The Sisters in the center

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Students in Sisters Academy. Photo: Diana Lindhart

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Sisters Hope. Photo: Julie Johansen

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A visit at the Sisters’ office. Photo: Diana Lindhart

More about Sisters Academy:

A collection of news paper articles and other press material about the project.

More atmospheric photos from the first five days at the academy.

Sisters Hope on facebook.

Categories: Closeness, Euphoria, Gratitude, Motivation, Silence | 1 Comment

Welcome!

Welcome to this new blog. It will soon become a logbook for my proces and reflections connected to working with landscapes and senses. Until posts begin to fill the page, you can read a little about my work and who I am.

See you soon!

Lotus

Categories: Birth, Euphoria, PR, Process, Thesis experiment | Leave a comment

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