Sonic Kinesthetic Forest: Listening to and Dancing With Trees


Sonic Kinesthetic Forest is an interdisciplinary research project and pedagogical investigation that uses sensory-based, creative methods of drawing, sound, and movement for connecting humans more viscerally to trees and forest landscapes. Our work responds to David Abram’s premise in The Spell of the Sensuous that sensory practices are vital for mitigating human disembodiment, desensitization and disconnectedness from nature in contemporary life. Resilience, as a means of adapting to and recovering from extremes, may offer a form of bodily reconnection that reinforces human and more-than-human relations, especially between humans and trees. We approach resilience as a relational state of being that can be achieved by stimulating sensory modes of expression. In this paper we draw from our respective disciplines as landscape designer, sound artist, and choreographer/movement analyst to explain and reflect on the sonic kinesthetic methodology we developed for exploring the sensory attributes of trees through the embodied acts of listening, moving and drawing. We describe how the methodology was applied in two pedagogical projects: Listening to Trees, a workshop for undergraduate landscape architecture students at California State Polytechnic University Pomona (USA) and Dancing with Trees, a choreographic piece created for adolescent dancers as part of the Guelph Youth Dancers project (Canada), and how the proposed sonic kinesthetic methodology was demonstrated as a case study during the ECADE conference. We also discuss how project participants cultivated a deeper understanding of the aliveness of trees, ultimately enhancing their own sense of resilience by forging a more reciprocal relationship with the sentient world.

Author Information
Rennie Tang, California State Polytechnic University, United States
Eleni-Ira Panourgia, Université Gustave Eiffel, France
Lisa Sandlos, York University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ECADE2022
Stream: Interdisciplinary Art and Design Projects

This paper is part of the ECADE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Tang R., Panourgia E., & Sandlos L. (2022) Sonic Kinesthetic Forest: Listening to and Dancing With Trees ISSN: 2758-0989 – The European Conference on Arts, Design & Education 2022 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon