Feeding the Senses in Lockdown London

I am sharing here some stills taken from a video I filmed on Friday. This was part of a field trip I organised for my ‘Expanded Animation’ students. I wanted us to get away from the computer screens, from the clinical environment of the campus, which is currently a rather ghostly and underwhelming space.

It was the second day of the London lockdown n.2, which feels different this time. We have had some practice, so it doesn’t seem as new and strange. However, central London did appear rather deserted again.

Having just spent time reading Charles Spence’s article on Sensehacking (Maintaining a balanced diet of multisensory stimulation during COVID-19 lockdown, and why it matters), as well other content for my new online art journal Tangible Territory, I became well aware of the importance of feeding all the senses, in order to stay balanced to keep creative energy flowing.

Borough market delivered what I hoped for: colours, sounds, smells, even tastes. Moving and walking around, feeling the cold, wind, being close to the river, getting a sense of the city, all felt nourishing and meaningful.

We found broken glass, broken bones, beautiful vegetables, mushrooms, nets, crunchy lettuce, even miniature landscapes inside a large dish. We smelt heavy scent of meat, festive smell of mulled wine, various herbs and spices.

All along I have been thinking of Jan Svankmajer’s recommendation of cultivating synesthesia, in order to bring the whole emotional potential into our creative process.

Looking at the result now, I also think of Laura Marks’ haptic visuality – the type of visuality that functions like the sense of touch, by not offering a clear image, but instead triggering physical memories of smell, touch, and taste: the senses that are so closely linked to emotion. A kind of subjective image, closer to a feeling than to a faithful representation of an objective reality…

Here is some of what we found…

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