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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

A significant, small piece of paper

On my desk is: a stack of 250 visiting cards.

I’d rather not call them “business cards”, because in Sensescapes you are no customer, naturally.

You are a visitor, and will therefore have a visiting card. No, even more! You are a cooperator! A play mate!

Or even: a brother or sister.

Lately, while participating in festivals and other gatherings, I have missed something to hand out when asked about my thesis work.

“Sensescapes” what is it? A  little tricky to pronounce. Even harder to explain. Still, perhaps less difficult to understand.

But you will, I guess, have to activate other parts of the brain than the logical-linguistic sense to reach an understanding that fits the sensorial concept.

You will, perhaps, besides speaking to me and sense my enthusiasm, have to try it for yourself.

Try it for yourself.

I find this to be one of the most difficult parts of the production process. A concept has been developed, tested and found fit for use. Now how can it become known, how can it be used, how can it spread and reach to those who – perhaps without knowing it – is likely to benefit positively from an experience like this?

Paradoxically, I find that pictures from the walks are useful to represent the concept and give some sort of feeling of the non-visual experience.

On my desk is: love of the material. Trees, cut, made, dumped and made again into recycled paper, printed with pictures of landscapes from Sensescapes. Cultivated nature, added a few verbalisations about the non-verbal.

Ready to go in the suitcase to Nordic Summer University in Iceland and be handed out.

Here you are! Pictures of pictures!

See you on the other side of Iceland.

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Categories: Iceland, Material, PR | Leave a comment

Small stories of today II

Participants for the walks

Today I have received reservation nr. 2 and 3 from people who want to participate in the sensorial walks in April. These are people I haven’t ever met, and it makes me very grateful and excited that someone from outside my own network shows interest in my experiments. If you are interested in going on a walk, read the invitation in the latest blog post and contact me at mielotus@gmail.com.

Research question

So far, this is the reseach question that frames the overall thesis project:

This production thesis investigates sensorial perception and non-verbal, bodily experiences as a possible way towards a deeper understanding and awareness of relations and encounters in the local landscapes that surround us. With the creation of a series of sensorial walks for one person at the time, I ask: How can landscapes be understood as relations? And how can an aesthetic experience contribute to such an understanding? The goal of the thesis is to critically bring the philosophy of phenomenology into life in the production and analysis of the sensorial walks. The walks will serve as an empirical platform to investigate the significance of sensorial perception as a fundamental mode of being in and connecting to the landscapes we are a part of.

Motivations

Yesterday a was in a coaching session with a girl from my entrepreneurship course. She asked me about my motivation for working with sensorial walks. Answering that question made me instinctively aware of my personal drive and dreams. The cure of my motivation… is stories like this:

Last fall I did a series of blindfolded walks in Iceland. After the walks, one participant told me how struggling with cancer had made her body incabable of doing some specific movements with her arm. During the walk, a moment of contact improvisation between her and I had made her do some of the movements she could not do when she was sick. We both became very touched when she told me how these movements on the walk had made her feel free and relieved.

Last summer I did a small series of short, blindfolded walks in Mols Bjerge. During the walks I took the participants into a stable to meet a horse. After one walk the participant told me how she usually fears horses, but this time she had felt safe. Now she thought she would not fear horses anymore.

Two days ago I showed a blog post to two girls in a feedback group at uni. One of them told me she became so inspired by reading it, that she now wanted to consider how she can implement the things she works with in her thesis into her everyday life.

Small awareness practice: 

Since I am working with landscape as a relational and multisensory concept, part of my investigations is to test and practice how the term “landscape” can literally be used to describe something else and more than visual representations of beautiful, natural scenarios. In my theoretical starting point of the thesis, landscape is a concept of “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, cited in Benediktsson and Lund 2010: 2). Here landscape is relation. It is what continuously goes on between myself and my surroundings. In this phenomenological approach landscape includes “a consideration of fluidity, transition and motion” (ibid. 3).

Today I am working at home. And so, a moment ago I walked around the apartment and took some pictures to share my everyday landscape – my life world – with you. When I saw the pictures afterwards I discovered how I had unconsciously been looking for plants, window views and cozy scenery to present to you as my local landscape. Then I went back to my desk and decided to delete all the photos. Instead I sat on my chair while looking around. Bam. Change in view. Change in perspective. Change in attention. This is the task, and you might as well try to do it where you sit right now:

Stop. Look.

Look again.

What do you see?

How do you see it?

This is a main point in my sensorial walks: It is not necessarily what is seen that is of importance, but how it is seen. Or not seen.

Here is my current local landscape seen in a moment of awareness. All the photos except the first are taken from the chair (in the first photo) where I’m sitting right now.

IMG_5068 IMG_5096 IMG_5092 IMG_5093 IMG_5086 IMG_5099 IMG_5095IMG_5094 IMG_5097  IMG_5100 IMG_5101 IMG_5102 IMG_5104 IMG_5088 IMG_5106 IMG_5108 IMG_5109 IMG_5110 IMG_5112 IMG_5114 IMG_5115 IMG_5116  IMG_5123IMG_5118 IMG_5120 IMG_5117

Now I keep discovering new details in this small world of two squaremeters.

I can recommend this small practice of awareness. Try to take a couple of minutes’ break from whatever you are doing, to open your gaze and look around. Perhaps something will show up that you never noticed before. Perhaps you will see things. And people, if there are any. I mean, really see them. Encounter. Engage. Relate.

Then I read this:

Awareness of the unfamiliar is, however, generated through encounters with the familiar (ibid. 6)

Perhaps this post could be an example of how the familiar has now, in a few moments, shown itself from an unfamiliar perspective.

Peace,
Lotus

Literature: Benediktsson and Lund, 2010: Conversation with Landscape, University of Iceland, Ashgate

Categories: Blindfolding, Landscape Dialogues, Material, Motivation, Playfulness, PR, Sensorial meditation, Short experiment, Thesis experiment | Leave a comment

Sensescapes is seeking participants in Mols Bjerge

(Danish below)

Are you living in Mols, Denmark? Would you like to come on an experimental, sensorial walk on an old farm land in Mols Bjerge? You will be blindfolded and carefully led through the landscape by me for about one hour. Afterwards we will talk about your experience in a recorded feedback session.

Please contact me at mielotus@gmail.com if you are interested.

The walks are free of charge, and you can choose what time you want to go on a walk on the following days: April 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12.

The adress is Provstskovvej 7, Bogens, Ebeltoft.

I will use the walks and feedbacks for analysis and discussion about senses and landscapes in my final thesis. Read more about that here and in this blog in general.

Hope to hear from you.

Peace and light,

Lotus

Sensescapes plakat

Har du lyst til at komme med på en sansevandring?

Vi søger lige nu deltagere til sansevandringerne i Mols Bjerge. Tilmeld dig hurtigst muligt hvis du vil være sikker på en plads.

I Sensescapes føres du på en undersøgende vandring gennem et på én gang almindeligt og ukendt landskab. Du har bind for øjnene under hele vandringen og vil derfor opleve omgivelserne og din egen krop på en særlig måde – måske helt anderledes end du er vant til. Det er gratis og der kræves ingen andre forudsætninger for deltagelse end nysgerrighed og interesse for eksperimentet, samt påklædning efter vejret.  Hver vandring varer ca. 1 time og udføres med blot én deltager ad gangen og med Lotus som guide og performer. Efter vandringen følger en feedbacksession på ca. 30 min.

Eksperimentet Sensescapes, foregår i april 2014 og er del af produktionsenheden Secret Hotels projekt Landscape Dialogues. Sensescapes er udviklet af konceptudvikler og performer Mie Lotus Lykke, i forbindelse med hendes produktspeciale i Æstetik og Kultur ved Aarhus Universitet. Sensescapes undersøger landskaber multisensorisk og spontant, og spørger til hvad den æstetiske, sansebårne erfaring kan betyde for vores oplevelse af de landskaber som vi er en del af.

Landscape Dialogues er et længerevarende interdisciplinært projekt om scenekunst, bæredygtighed og landskaber, som byder på nyskabte værker, gæstespil og faglige kompetence- og netværksudviklende fora i Mols Bjerge. Læs mere på http://www.secrethotel.dk/landscape-dialogues/

Sted:

De første 10 af i alt 20 vandringer foregår i starten af april i skønne omgivelser i omkring en gammel gård i Mols Bjerge. Anden halvdel af vandringerne foregår i Århus i slutningen af april.

Tid:

Mols Bjerge: 7.-12. april (pt. ledige pladser to gange om dagen den 8., 10., 11. og 12. april. Tidspunkter aftales individuelt med deltagerne)

Århus: 22-26. april (pt. ledige pladser to gange om dagen alle dage. Tidspunkter aftales individuelt med deltagerne)

Har du lyst til at deltage, så skriv en mail til Lotus på mielotus@gmail.com. Men vær hurtig, der er kun plads til 18 deltagere i alt!

PS:

I efteråret 2013 lavede Lotus et pilotprojekt på Sensescapes under titlen Sensing Reykjavik, som en del af udvekslingsstudier på University of Iceland. Billeder fra vandringerne i Reykjavik, samt løbende refleksioner over produktspecialet kan ses her på bloggen.

NB! Specialet om Sensescapes skrives på engelsk, men vandringerne og feedback’en foregår på dansk.

Categories: Blindfolding, Landscape Dialogues, PR, Secret Hotel, Thesis experiment | Leave a 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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