Touch

Forest encounters with little people

Greetings from the late summer forest Risskov, where the performance figure Flora is wandering this month.

Flora is a curious and playful nature explorer, who loves to go for a walk and see what happens. She likes her own company as well as being with other childlike souls.

This time, she has invited groups of 4-5 year-olds and their pedagogues to investigate the forest with her. She has brought her backpack, a blanket and a basket, and she has brought her most important tool:

All the senses.

Come along and get to know what experiences the forest will provide today!

Read more (in Danish:) here

Photos: Marianne Duus, Børnekulissen, Aarhus Kommune

IMG_5872IMG_5785IMG_5957IMG_5863IMG_5670IMG_5664IMG_5736IMG_5708IMG_5724IMG_5894

Categories: aesthetics, kids, Landscape Dialogues, perception, Playfulness, Sight, Touch | 1 Comment

Holding hands

“When I hold your hand I hold a miracle”

– British writer AL Kennedy, in a BBC radio programme 

IMG_7498

Photo: Rasmus Skov

Holding hands.

Something I do so instinctively, so intuitively.

To grab the participant’s hand and walk like we were friends.

When I reach for your hands, it is not only to guide and lead, but merely to say: I want to be WITH you in this, not ahead of you.

IMG_1939

Photo: Christine Fentz

I find that this simplicity of relation between hands does the difference in my guiding method.

On the blindfolded walks of Sensescapes, we explore the environment of everyday life as it is, completely out of the institutions art, with a minimum of pre-build constructions for the event, no fictional frame and no intended audience. For the staging of a walk I make either no, or very few, changes on the site.

And yet everything changes.

The change lies merely in the blindfolded experience, but this experience would not have such strong and emotional effect of etc. pleasure, relaxation, safety and playfulness, without the intimacy of the moving, breathing body of the “we” that is created in the connection between blindfolded and guide.

sansevandring_10_04_2014_20

Photo: Søren Gammelmark

Here at the farm or in the park, the meeting of your hands and mine change the experience of the relational space around us from everyday-like to something both familiar and extraordinary, both distant and very intimate.

In an abstract and curious dance between blindfolded and guide, our bodies merge into one.

IMG_3118

Photo: Angela Rawlings

It is all set in the beginning of the walk, in the radical shift from two strangers talking briefly in a yard or on a pathway, to the appearance of a vulnerable, curious pair of connected entities, through touch of hands and through a constant mindful awareness of each other.

We meet.

I ask you a few questions to get to know a little about you.

Then you put a blindfold on.

But then… I take your hands and we breathe together.

Both pair of eyes is closed, because I want to sense what you are sensing.

I want us to arrive in our bodies together.

IMG_7203

Photo: Rasmus Skov

Then we walk, hand in hand.

IMG_7408

Photo: Rasmus Skov

Perhaps the essence of Sensecapes can be summed up in the togetherness of hands being in touch, eccoing A.L. Kennedy:

“When we reach out for each other, we don’t just reveal our highly evolved and respectable selves. When hands open for each other, they open deep impulses, primate truths, touched before agriculture, before tools, before speaking.”

– A.L. Kennedy in the above mentioned BBC programme.

IMG_0985

Photo: Roland Schild

I find the feeling of deep connection and intimacy most meaningful when shared, like in this re-post of a reaction from one of the participants in the thesis-experiement:

“Even though I was blindfolded I could feel there was one hundred percent contact and attention. And that part is terribly strong! It was not until afterwards I discovered: oh my god, this is what I give my children. But how important it is to do this, because – wow! – how you lack this in real life! So, that was a pretty impressive experience”

– Stephan Gustin, participant on a walk in Aarhus, April 2014

I guess I fall a little bit in love with most of my participants. There is a powerful and mindblowing force in the freedom of being childish together, being brave together, being vulnurable together, being close together for a brief moment in life.

I love it.

Lotus

Categories: Blindfolding, Closeness, Hands, Thesis experiment, Touch, Trust | Leave a comment

Sense experiment at Bart Art Symposium III

 

 

IMG_0988

Here is a tribute to my grandmother, who recently presented a thought experiment of sensorial walks without walking. Her question was: “Could I, who do not walk well anymore, get the same sort of experience as in your walks, by just sitting on a chair in my garden, blindfolded?”

Thus, on Secret Hotel’s Barn Art Symposium III in Mols Bjerge, a short sense experiment of blindfolded sitting was facilitated two days ago. Elements of text, touch, guided walking and change of place was added. But mainly there was just sitting. Alone. With very few sensory inputs, such as (outside:) the wind, the trees, the bench, my hands, (inside:) the sound of a noisy projector, the chair, the floor, the momentary steps of my rubber boots.

Afterwards, contrasting reactions were at play among the participants, which made it clear to me that in a shared physical place, with the same verbal instructions, in the same condition of restricted sight and movement, blindfolding sitting itself can be sensed emotionally and intuitively completely different from person to person. For some, sitting alone on a bench with eyes covered, might lead to a deep meditation. For others, plain relaxation. For others insecurity or irritation. For some, deep fear or anger.

At the end, the eight participants were asked to verbalize their experience in three words each. Some had words, others not. Here is what was said:

Hard. Wind. Happiness.
Space. Inner/Outer. Movement.
Isolation. Caress. Breeze.
Warm/cold. Wind. Unsecure.
Deep. Blindness. Light.
Simplicity. Trees. Contact.
Listening. Enough that I am not knowing.
Birch.

(Said by the photographing participant:)
Looks like peace. Harmony. I believe in you.

Photographer: Roland Schild

IMG_0984IMG_0980

IMG_0990IMG_0991IMG_0996IMG_1001IMG_1004IMG_0994IMG_1008 IMG_1009IMG_1020IMG_1016IMG_1036IMG_1034

Thank you to all the participants for taking the risk!

 

Categories: Blindfolding, Closeness, Country side, Hands, Sensorial meditation, Short experiment, Silence, Touch | Leave a comment

Sensescapes at NSU in Iceland

In the end of July I was given the opportunity to participate in the summer session of Nordic Summer University, which was situated in Sáduarkrokur, Northern Iceland, this year. I became a member of the study circle titled “Crossing Contexts – interventions through artistic research”, where aprox. 35 researchers and artists (most of us having a practice of both) exchanged thoughts, work and experiences from morning to evening. The energy was loaded with creativity and mutual interest, Networks expanded, horizons broadened, inspiration flowed, and I am still contemplating the mass of material and impressions created in our shared space.

One night we had a LAB night, and within the packed programme of performances and participatory installations and experiments, Sensescapes was given 20 minutes to unfold. The night was chilly with lots of wind. Nevertheless we went outside, and after a short introduction to the simple concept of blindfolded walks, we paired and did 15 minutes of exploration around and inside the buildings. I was participating in the exercise myself, but NSU member Magda Mrowiec captured the event with her camera.

My deep thanks to all the wonderful participants! Hope to see you again next year.

20140729223344(1) 20140729223344(2) 20140729223344(3) 20140729223344(5) 20140729223344(10) 20140729223344(13) 20140729223344(15) 20140729223344(23) 20140729223344(26) 20140729223344(27) 20140729223344(31) 20140729223344(35) 20140729223344(38) 20140729223344(39) 20140729225224(2)20140729225143(2) 20140729225224(3) 20140729225512(8)

Categories: Blindfolding, Closeness, Iceland, Short experiment, Touch, Trust, Workshop | Leave a comment

To re-sense the experience. Reactions from a participant.

This week I will give the words to Stephan Gustin, a talented architect who went with me on one of the walks in Aarhus. Ealier I have posted some photos from Stephans’ walk. A week after the walk he sent me a short recording of his impressions, based on the six key words (or key sentences) he had come up with in our feedback session. The highlighted key words indicate immidiate descriptions of the overall experience and on the landscape (see this post for a collection of key words from all the walks). I have translated Stephans’ impressions from Danish, and bring the translation here.

IMG_7510

Stephan and I in the middle of the road. Photo: Rasmus Skov

”This is Stephan’s impressions from the sensorial walk, which was a very good and strong experience. Something I noticed was atmospheres in spaces. Obviously that is also because I am an architect. But your senses became sharpened enormously in relation to the atmospheres. Both in relation to different spatiality, types of acoustics when walking in open space – nature has its own atmosphere in its own space – but also spaces in space. Though I knew we were in a park and a natural resort, then in some places there was a lot of traffic noise, in some places there was echo and in some places sound fell complete silent. That was a fairly intense experience to get. But also to enter rooms. I mean, the tunnel was a room. Or an inflatable room. Or a dome. To re-sense it. You can register it logically, but to be blindfolded, be guided around and feel for yourself. That was a nice experience! To re-sense the experience.

Something I also noticed was the closeness between people. You had someone who had your full attention. It is not so often you experience that, besides talking about girlfriends and love. Usually that is one person, but between foreign people, other people, it can happen that you experience flirt, poetry, dialogue, social contact or friendship. But to have a certain bond… Even though I was blindfolded I could feel there was one hundred percent contact and attention. And that part is terribly strong!! It was not until afterwards I discovered: oh my god, this is what I give my children. But how important it is to do this, because – wow! – how you lack this in real life! So, that was a pretty impressive experience.

Some of the sensations that also lingered afterwards were sounds and light. When you are blindfolded, you obviously listen more that you see. But actually light was the stronger of the two, because it was such a thing that came sneaking in silently. You started outside, but even in the outside space – as with the sense of space – it varied. There were nuances, lots of nuances! To feel, before going into the tunnel, that now you approached another kind of light, another lightning, to suddenly walk under a bush and become confused – I did not know we were under a bush, I just knew we were outside in open air – and still there was a roof. Things like this that “stumbled”, and were light was tricking in some way. One moment all the light was… what I later found out was frosted glass, but I could not perceive that. It sharpens the senses to become a little confused. When your logical sense cannot register things precisely, then you kind of let the imagination rule. That is interesting.

Then I have written a note on urban nature. I am interested in the way we register nature. At one point I was standing, embracing a tree I the middle of a routing of a road, with cars rushing on both sides, and I experienced the bark smelling extremely of particles, that is, petrol fumes. And this gave way to mixed emotions; because the structure of wood is old and here, you were suddenly given hundred years of history from a person that was a tree… a personality… a personal tree… who has a huge history. But we shower it in fumes, and that was… that was damn unpleasant, actually! I like the urban nature, it is a breathing hole, and the place we were in was magical and enchanting. But it was also enormously forlorn. It gives some sense of being out in wild nature, but it is also a little difficult for me. That was my sense of the urban nature. Still I believe that the sensations you get are completely real and can be compared to wild nature. Of course there is no difference, because the body makes registrations in a way. But I do not think the body becomes relaxed the same way as if you were in a place with no sound of birds escaping from traffic, children playing, a lawn that needs mowing or a bed that needs to be leveled. I also experienced the area as very hilly. It is in reality, of course, but especially you feel it when you are blindfolded and have to feel your way around.  It too gives a new and quite peculiar experience of the landscape. Several times since then, I have driven by and looked at that landscape. Even though I see a lot of landscapes as a part of my job, this sharpened my senses enormously. Very well done! I called it semi-dramatic. On the border between… To rediscover that even little things in the landscape can be dramatic.

The last note I have made is a flood of emotions. No doubt an experience like this creates contact to ones’ emotions and emotional self. I do not know what words to put on it. You become grounded, you get yourself to the ground, you have time to breathe, you lower your shoulders and become less shifty-eyed, you are more focused, your breathing becomes deeper. Afterwards I instantly had the feeling that it is okay to just sit and look, to let the eyes drift and to get this calm feeling. It is okay to do it. There is something natural about it. But that is not the natural feeling you have with a deadline ahead of you, knowing that after deadline there are some kids that need to be picked up, and after picking up the kids there is a new deadline and a lot of things to be done. This here, it makes you get a more simple view of reality, and you see that “oh well”, at the same time as getting things done and do what you need to do, you can actually enjoy life and feel peace in your mind, your belly and your body. So thank you for this good experience”

Categories: Blindfolding, Closeness, Feedback, Landscape Dialogues, Material, Thesis experiment, Touch, Trust | Leave a comment

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.

IMG_7432

IMG_7441

IMG_7453

IMG_7473

IMG_7481

IMG_7498

IMG_7504

IMG_7520

IMG_7527

IMG_7543

IMG_7555

IMG_7573

IMG_7583

IMG_7590

IMG_7594

IMG_7608

IMG_7634

IMG_7635

 

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

Blog at WordPress.com.

Gry Worre Hallberg

Life flashes by in an instant

The Plant Intelligence Project

Us, them and our bushy dendrites

Artcademia

A philosophical exploration of the potential of combining academia, art and critique

Cinesthetic feasts

practice based research into multi-sensory perception and embodiment in moving image - by Tereza Stehlikova

Representations of the Other

Language, Body and Space in Cross-cultural Performances

LOTUS&SKOV

en logbog om landskab og sanser