Workshop - Stretching Senses School
Date: November 9 – 11, 2022, 10 – 18 h
Venue: Room 336 (09.11) & Room 341 (10.-11.11), Bundesallee 1-12, D-10719, Berlin
Registration for UdK-students: inkuele - Please also state your course of study, your motivation for wanting to join and your expectation of this workshop. @intra.udk-berlin.de
Stretching Senses School – mycelium and neuronal forests
Stretching senses school is an emerging learning community to explore more-than-human perceptions through immersive media. This workshop is focused on the potential of artistic interventions on our relations to the environment through an engagement at the level of anthropotechniques: the techniques of thought, feeling and acting or “the skilled practices that humans have devised and applied to train and reshape themselves.” which should be renewed to bring attention toward the “relations and consequences of our acts, and those of our lawmakers and other powers, upon the well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants” (Tresch 2016). If immersive media can act as a training device for such sensorial development, we must think beyond the screen when engaging with the digital. What sort of production aesthetics should such immersive sketches aim for when trying to build a bridge between knowledge worlds? What kind of ritual or transformative body practices could be embedded into a virtual reality experience if it targets at transforming inner milieus? How should the wearers breathe, dress, speak or eat throughout the practice? What kind of local and historical patterns of the more-than-human world can we connect to stretch our perceptions, “adding to our repertoire of recognition and teasing us into a deeper level of knowing both ourselves and the world” (Sewall 1999,144)?
Starting from research conducted at the excellence cluster “Matters of Activity” (MoA) on two distinct yet potentially coinciding topics (mycelium feeding behavior // “digital twin” neuronal forests), participants from diverse backgrounds will be guided by the anthropologists/curators, several mentors of the stretching senses school, as well as MoA researchers associated. Together, we will mix and learn how to work out flimsy VR installations and movement “scores” (Bjerre Jensen 2020) in the context of art-science collaborations.
Counteracting the hierarchical communication model, tiny beings such as neurons and most hyphae nonlinearly connect, grow, die and support in their own dynamic tempo. Ecologist Suzanne Simard compares the cooperative system of the forest to a neural network. Fungal filigrees connect with tree roots, facilitating kin recognition and defence signalling while transferring nutrients and carbon, enhancing the whole forest ecosystem. It’s easy to forget that our mind-bodies are made of that same lively microscopic stuff: these hypo-selves are self-organized in symbiotic assemblies, and these aren’t as straight as Science wants us to think. The collective making process of a virtual experience could be a way to affect our sensory faculties beyond the realm of language, filled with “the lure of the possible” (Debaise 2017).
The goal for this workshop will be to develop an intimate relation with the more-than-humans (mycelium / neurons) over the period of two days and a half, taking the creative experience of an immersive digital piece as the continuation of collective fieldwork. This exploration will also aim at communicating these affective shifts to the public. Emphasis is put on insight gathering and experimentation, rather than on the final result. The workshop is not about techno-saviourism but rather a curious yet careful exploration. Together, we will attempt to make kin with lively critters, stretching our imaginations through a blend of physical and digital tools and methods.
Dr. Maxime Le Calvé is an anthropologist of art and science, currently postdoctoral research associate at the Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activities” (HU Berlin). In his latest ethnographic project, he is exploring haptic creativities and cartographic practices in neurosurgery. Visual ethnographer, he is making use of digital drawing as an investigative device. He is also curating virtual reality experiences, which he frames as collaborative art-science inquiries aiming to stretch the senses of anthropologists and of their publics. He trained in general ethnology in Paris Nanterre and owns a PhD in social anthropology and in theater studies, from EHESS Paris and FU Berlin. He has published on the ethnographic study of atmospheres (Exercices d’ambiances, 2018), on performance art, on music, on Berlin, on brains, and on ethnographic training. He is also the co-curator of the exhibitions Field/Works in Lisbon (2020-2021), Stretching Materialities (Berlin, 2021-2022), and currently the participant exhibition Sketching Brains (Charité, Berlin). More at https://www.maximelecalve.com
Yoonha Kim is an anthropologist with a background in design. She is interested in the relationship between technology and locality in the age of the planetary. Her project is situated at the intersection of Design Anthropology and heritage studies within »Object Space Agency« at »Matters of Activity«. From curatorial practices to filmmaking and sensorial workshops with emergent technologies, she explores multi-modal forms of anthropological research. Yoonha studied Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins - University of the Arts London, and Visual and Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin.