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.


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
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



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.


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:


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.


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


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.


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!




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


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…


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.


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 is now to be found in a cheasy section about creativity online, along with adds for DIY table cloths and coffee scrub:


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

See you!




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

A definition of aesthetic perception

In a philosophy of aesthetics of appearing, the work of the German philosopher Martin Seel draws a line from the notion of interdependent body-world relation to aesthetic theory. By this, a close link between senses, perception and aesthetics is established. In a historical perspective, Seel portraits aesthetics as a philosophical discipline, undertaken in its original form as congnito sensivita – or the discipline of sensuous knowledge, derived from the first definition of the term by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in 1750 (Seel 2005:2). In this manner, the sensuous is the aesthetic and the aesthetic is the sensuous. Aesthetic perception implies “a sensuous alertness, that is an end in itself” (ibid.: xii). This special alertness differs from scientific knowledge, states Seel, and refers to Baumgarten’s suggestion that complete knowledge should consist of both scientific and aesthetic thinking (ibid.:2). 

Departing from aesthetic theory’s origin in sense-based knowledge, and following the thought that life gains in different ways from scientific and aesthetic knowledge, Seel present an illustration of the difference between what can be characterized as a detective and a poetic practice. The illustration is this (ibid.:29): A mushroom gatherer is scanning the forest floor. He is paying close attention to multiple appearances, but his attention stays connected to a particular intention: in this situation, to find edible mushrooms. This practice is detective, because it takes the form of a fixed investigation in a search for traces that can lead to a specific goal. Then an aesthetic perciever enter the forest. He is likewise characterized by close attention as he experience things in their particular phenomenal individuality (ibid.:28). But this attention is not directed at distinctions or details in order to find a particular object for a purpose, like edible mushrooms. Instead the aesthetic perception stays intuitive in a sort of spontaneous going-with-the-flow (ibid.:29). This practice is poetic, because its aim is purely to be open to the particular sensations that may appear in each given moment: the grass, the mushrooms, a sudden change in light, the leaves, the wind. The openness in the aesthetic perception can lead back to Seel’s notion of Baumgartens portrait of sensuous knowledge as an undetermined, confused form of knowlegde, and thus “cognito sensivita” and ”cognito confusa” becomes related (ibid.:2).


Cognito sensivita/congnito confusa. Participant: Stephan. Photographer: Rasmus Malling Lykke Skov

In the movement of bringing aesthetics back to its origin, Seel’s basic concept of aesthetic perception is not only connected to perception of art works, but also to “exstra-artistic phenomena” (ibid.:xii). Encountering the reality aesthetically can thus include nature, design, sports, artistically designed events, and also arbitrary objects in our everyday life – in our life world. As such, my definition of aesthetic perception finds its form with Seel as:“to apprehend things and events in respect to how they appear momentarily and simultaneously to our senses” (ibid.: xi). 

In line with a phenomenological emphasis on perception as communication and communion, Seel connects the aesthetic object of aesthetic perception to a relational process, in the manner that such an object ”[…]shows itself in a constantly transitory state. In this condition, nothing is simply just what it is; everything appears in the light of relations that, for their part, change with every change in individual appearances” (ibid.:27). In the aesthetic process of perception, nothing is ever the same. The (or a) phenomenology of aesthetic perception can thus be stated to bring forth a perception of the particularity of the here-and-now, which requires a reconnection to playful, poetic intuition and capability of being present and alive in the moment. And finally, this approach can reach a proposal of the potential of aesthetic practice, as given in Seel’s thesis: “in the multifarious forms of this practice we are drawn into the play for the intuition of presence” (ibid.: xiii).


Particularity of the here-and-now. Participant: Martabolette. Photographer: Søren Gammelmark

(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”)


Seel, Martin, 2005: Aesthetics of Appearing, Standford

Categories: aesthetics, perception, Playfulness, Process | Leave a comment

Small stories of today

Today I started in a course of entrepreneurship, facilitated by the university. We took one of those silly personality tests, and I was quite skeptical in the beginning, but it turned out to be a really useful tool to show important aspects of what I am good at doing, and how I function when I work. I hope the course will help me to better understand my needs as a project maker, and to bring me closer to ideas and decisions for the future, including the life of Sensescapes.

Before that I was at a workshop about supervising in the master thesis process. During the workshop we were given the task to walk around and tell each other about our dreams for our thesis. A powerful action. Often when I speak with other master students we’re too good at telling each other how difficult this and that is. It is hard to work alone. I don’t know what to write about. I can’t find my discipline. I am stressed by the burden of the reading material. I don’t know what I am doing. And so on.

Hey. Let’s start telling each other about our dreams and wishes instead of staring at the difficulties!

These are my dreams:

I dream of a successful production.
I wish that someone will be touched.
I wish to learn something.
I wish to be shaken.

And I wish for peace in the process.

Right there. Back on track.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a speach for positive psychology. It is a speach for the act of sharing honestly and curiously what lies beyond the surface.

This morning was hard. It seemed like it would never end, like I was lost in my own negative thoughts, staring at them, exactly like that. I had to speak out loud, tell my body to behave, to get up, to accomplish something. I didn’t help much. Then I went to the workshop and told a woman about my dreams. She became touched. She touched me back and her words stirred something fragile and strong within, and THEN the negativity ended. Instead: energy.

Tomorrow I will meet my supervisor for the second time and I will have to show him some VERY unfinished writings. The perfectionist in me hate that. But I am fighting her. I am fighting her hard.

I have decided the time for the sensorial walks in April. Can’t wait to be out there. Investigating. Playing. Being in the presence of the various landscapes.

See you.

Categories: Dreams, Feedback, Motivation, Process, Thesis experiment, Workshop | Leave a comment

The Farm II

This week I’ve been on a small retreat. The artistic leader of Secret hotel, Christine Fentz, has opened the doors to her home in Mols Bjerge and let me stay here.

Two days ago Christine went to Copenhagen to work and left the farm in my care. Since then I have enjoyed the farm land all by myself, with space to think, to dwell, to open up and to start the process of preparing the big work ahead. The contract for the final thesis is signed and delivered to Aarhus University. So now the thesis project has officially started.

So. Here’s another way to enter the proces:

Go away from the library, the reading halls, the desks and the usual procedures. Go to somewhere with lots of space and air.


Go for a walk in the woods.

Go for a walk around the house and look for poetic inspiration.

Get distracted by that same poetic inspiration.

Investigate the place. Take pictures. Take the temperature. Take a deep breath.


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In April, the first series of sensorial walks will be held here, around the farm.  The participants will be blindfolded, so they will watch the farm land with their hands, through their feet, ears and nostrils.


From three days’ work and life here on the farm evolves Process Lecture Nr. 1 for the thesis student:

It is good to go on a walk each day.

While writing this, I realize how this very simple thing – a walk –  connects to the starting point of the thesis. I propose that the physical act of walking/moving with a certain (aesthetic) attention through the landscape can become a way of connecting to something. That “something” could be anything around: the cold wind, the soft ground of the woods, a bird among the trees, my own breath or my whole body. Or it could be something less material: feelings of sadness, boredom, longing, a realization of confusion, satisfaction, tiredness, stress or the arrival of certain crucial reflections and thoughts. Here the moving, perceiving body in relation to the surroundings is what creates these connections.

So. Let’s have a look in the theoretical section.

There are several ways of describing this body-landscape connection theoretically. Rebecca Solnit writes about walking:

 Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body and the world aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be on our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being made wholly lost in our thoughts. (Solnit, 2001: 5)

Solnit’s ideal kind of walking seems to be peaceful and harmonic. What do you think about that?

In the foreword to an antology about landscape conversations, Katrin Anna Lund and Karl Benediktsson writes that the landscape is:

 …not comprehended as a predetermined, culturally contrived “text”, but as a conversational partner that is certainly more than human […] (Benediktsson and Lund 2010:8)

Now, if landscape connections can be seen as a (peaceful and harmonic?) conversation, how does the landscape communicate? DOES the landscape communicate? This is one of the questions I ask in my research.

At the moment the thesis process is facing a mountain of words yet unread. Not my words, but others’. Yesterday I wrote a very long literature list of things I want to read. Interesting books are lying in stacks, waiting to be read or re-read. Here are some of the works I expect to be key-works in the thesis so far:

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And there are many more. An interesting, but surely not very easy mountain to climb. I love and hate reading. It can be so tiring. Boring. And sometimes eye-opening! Words, words, dead and alive. New horizons. New land.

BUT. As this project seeks to move away from a system dominated by words and images by introducing an aesthetic perception mode with multiple sensorial sensations, my imaginative mountain of words wants to be combined with other inspiring landscapes. Like this farm land itself. Or in fields of artistic works by others.

Here’s the book I found most inspiring among them all yesterday.


A short artistic work called “Slices of Wood”, with poems about trees and pictures of trees.

Words about trees on material made of trees. Underlining the belief that it is nonsense to construct a split between nature and culture.

Tonight I go back to the city. With slices of the farm on my camera and my mind. Next thing will be to open some of those books!

Another way to enter the process:

Close the computer.


Take the weekend off.

Go for another walk. Ideal or not ideal.

Be imperfect.

Solnit, Rebecca, 2001: Wanderlust: A history of walking, Verso

Categories: Country side, Landscape Dialogues, Material, Motivation, Process, Secret Hotel, Sensorial meditation, Silence | 1 Comment

A beginning: or Ways to enter a Final Thesis


This picture may be a typical social media post for a home-alone-with-my-thesis-situation. I have seen similar pictures posted often on facebook. Candles, food, drink, computer, indicating a surplus of personal resources and creating a feeling that NOW things are rolling!

Perhaps they are. Rolling, I mean.

Tonight I’m the protagonist in this tale of the beginning of a final academic production, and this picture shows the scenery I face at the moment in my living room.
(Although while writing this the blueberries and cheese are long gone.
And the other half of the table is really messy.
And in spite of the candles it’s a little chilly in the room).
Things are much more than what meets the eye.

Anyway. There are much I want to share with you.

First of all I want to tell you about the birth of Sensescapes.

The name was conceived in my mind one day in Iceland when I read the title of the text that lies here next to my computer. It is an article by the Latvian geographer with the quite special name Edmunds Bunkse. The title of the article is:

“Sensescapes: or a Paradigm Shift from Words and Images to All Human Senses in Creating Feelings of Home in Landscapes”

A few days ago I finally got to actually read the article. It is only five pages and I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in landscapes and perception theory. I started a note book for reading notes for my final thesis. Here’s what the first pages of the note book looks like now:


After reading I was left with so many associations on the subject that I didn’t read much more that day.
(I am learning that slow reflection and time to contemplate can sometimes be more effective than tons of input. This is not what the education system teach us. They teach us to read, read, read, be updated all the time and gain as much knowlegde as possible.
But what is knowlegde?)

Back to the birth story. Last week Sensescapes was born, shaped like a word on this blog and in the title of my production thesis. The thesis has been mentioned in a couple of official announcements today and yesterday, which makes me feel that things ARE beginning to roll now – whether I like it or not. Most of the time I love it! Simultaneously there are lots of nervousness, fear and doubt. Complexity. Paradoxicality. Of course.

In all this, it feels crucial to try and keep things simple.

A simple question was given on facebook today, when Secret Hotel linked to my project under the title:

“What is Sensescapes?”

Spot on.

Here’s the first of several answers-to-come for that question. Directly derived from Bunkse, who is becoming my main inspiration at the moment:

IMG_4792 IMG_4796

What do you think of the statements in the pictures?

Here’s what I think:

About sight:
I am going to discuss a little with Bunkse. I don’t agree that we cannot enter a landscape by gazing at it. Who has not been lost for hours in some other-worldly food for the eyes? Films, photos, paintings, drawings… visual art offer whole worlds to enter and explore by sight and imagination. As the French philosopher Jacques Ranciere has stated, seeing can be an action in itself, and thus every spectator has the opportunity (and according to Ranciere also the ability) to jugde and associate from what he sees (Ranciere p. 13).

About all the senses:
What I DO agree with is Bunkse’s crucial point: that the dominance of pictures and words in our Western culture has moved us away from contact with our primal nature. Primarally 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, I search for signs in other people’s faces or in the sky, observe the ground with my feet and store knowlegde about places in my nostrils.
What I DO agree with is Bunkse’s suggestion for a sensory turn away from objectification and distance in a paradigme of words and images, and instead moving towards new (or old) ways of encountering and relating that includes all the senses. This is why I make sensorial walks. And this is why my walks are designed to focus on all other elements than seeing and speaking.
I will of course elaborate on this as the research goes on.

In Bunkse’s theory the concept of sensescapes is defined with the anthropologist David Howes:

“[sensescapes] is 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” (Bunkse p. 13)

What is Sensescapes? It is the center of my final thesis. Well. Calling it a final thesis seems a little off the point. Sensescapes is not anything final. It is not even the beginning of anything final. Others have began the work in the same fields I am investigating, doing things related to what I am doing, for decades (perhaps centuries, or if you look at it philosophically, likely for ever). Part of Sensescapes is to become aware of relational matters, like the one of belonging to a history of senses and sensorial investigation.

This is the beginning of my final thesis project. And it is not. In real life and in primal nature there’s no strict beginnings or ends, are there? Things change, they take new shapes and forms, they die and give life to something new.

There’s no beginning or end. Only the beautiful, terrible, fun, frustrating, revealing, radical, intense, never-ending proces.

Or: on micro levels there are perhaps only beginnings and endings.



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

Ranciere, Jacques: The Emancipated Spectator, Verso 2009

Categories: Birth, Landscape Dialogues, Material, Motivation, Process, Sight, Thesis experiment | 2 Comments

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


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!


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

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