Gratitude

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

Dwelling in the Woods

Not far from the North American east coast, in the depths of the state of Maine, there is a small region named Denmark. Here, where country roads curve between pine trees and big wooden houses, a spring retreat was held a couple of weeks ago at Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center. Our little family went there in the middle of three intense weeks of travel in the US, rooted ourselves and found a home for the heart to dwell and be silent in.

Here we are. In the North.

Arrival. At first, the sight is met by a sign with the logo of the place. A turtle. Here the retreat begins.

Go slow.

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Next, we find ourselves embedded in wood. Trees, wood cabins, wood surface under feet, over head, smell of fresh wood, of dry wood, of wood everywhere.

Our cabin is next to the big one. It has a name. Harmony. And a porch.

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There is sun.

There is snow.

We turn off our cell phones. Aahhhh. Why do I not turn that thing off more often?

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We eat (organic vegetarian delicious stuff). We gather. Ten bodies in a studio space (with wooden floor). We stretch.

We fall into place.

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Photo: Nurture Through Nature

There is an encouragement to be silent from evening to breakfast. We accept, let go of words and become Beings. I think, how can I be silent with a baby to take care of?

It turns out just fine. She sounds. We, the parents, listen. She goes to sleep and we listen to other things. The night. The super clear sky. Stars. Forest floor. Forest.

In the early morning, before breakfast, we all do a silent walk together. The land is breathing, the air is crisp.

Time to observe, feel, reflect.

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Time to sit and read, or lie down and play.

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Time to (re)open all senses, walk with bare feet, share a spontaneous, intimate experience with a another free spirit.

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Time for a ceremonial sauna! And a dip in the brook.

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Or just a walk by the brook. Connecting to what is flowing outside and inside.

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Listening to the water. (Next time you come across anything worth listening to, try sharpening your hearing like this:)

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Time for scaping the land and saying thanks.

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Photo: Rasmus Skov

Time for nurturing family togetherness by dwelling. Together in the woods. Another silent walk, just the three of us. Baby Iris laughing, me laughing along, daddy smiling. Playfulness needs no words, naturally.

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Time for (re)connecting with something basic. Taking a shit in nature (or, actually just on a really nice compost toilet, but still…). Walking slowly, slowly in the pit dark night with no lights. Waking up in the cold morning, cursing over the ice cold air outside the sleeping bag. Sweating in the steamy hot sauna, afterwards dipping in the stream, blood rushing from head to toe. Element-brush-up. Internet-break-free.

And perhaps most important of all: Being honest to oneself. Taking what there is for what it is. Not pretending. Not even thinking of pretending. Just being.

20160502_095948-1If you should come across Denmark, Maine, do yourself a favour and visit the place. It offers both all-inclusive retreats and accommodation for self-organized retreats. And Jen, the facilitator, is wonderful.

From Denmark to Denmark, cheers! For unexpected blessings, baby lessons and spring sprouts.

 

 

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Photo: Nurture Through Nature

Categories: Country side, Gratitude, Silence | 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

The farm

Two days ago I was at a meeting in Secret Hotel’s land in Mols Bjerge. Every time I arrive at the farm I get struck by a special silence and peaceful atmosphere that seem to dwell here. It’s an old, historic place and a great playground for a landscape explorer! Everything on the farm land seems to be different from the sensations I usually encounter in my daily urban landscape. The smells are different, the sky is bigger, the night is darker, the snow is more clean and the cold somehow more cold.

At the meeting we were a group of mixed artist, academics and culture workers who came to listen and share thoughts about Secret Hotel’s project Landscape Dialogues, which Sensescapes is a part of.

It’s always interesting to visit other people’s homes.  Next time I arrive at the farm I will stay there for five days to study and get to know the place better. First part of Sensescapes’ sensorial walks in April will be held here. I am so excited!

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Categories: Birth, Country side, Gratitude, Landscape Dialogues, Process, Secret Hotel | Leave a comment

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