A first ‘Becoming Sensicle’ workshop took place spontaneously as part of TransformART this August. How we move in urban spaces was one of the key topics of TransformART, a week-long event dedicated to exploring the arts as a driving force for social, political and personal transformation as part of this year’s Living Arts Base events in the South of France. The impromptu ‘Becoming Sensicle’ proposition connected to the event by bringing in questions around mobile utopias and cities of the future.
The workshop design combined three different methodologies: a discussion, a walking exploration, and a guided meditation.
For the first part, we discussed current issues around city planning and the global urban developments of today, identifying key concerns. With these in mind we set off on the walk, during which I narrated a typical commute home from work by train, whilst we were actually walking barefoot on asphalt and gravel paths heated by the sun. The aim was to attune to how the imaginary mobility of the busy railway commute, which could take place in many locations around the world, resonates and intra-acts with the bodily experienced mobility and physicality of walking on the hot ground in a small, calm village in Southern France. For the final part of the workshop, we journeyed to 2051 via a guided meditation which I offered, imagining what our cities and the mobilities within them could look like by then, and which aspects would be important to our socialities. After the time voyage, participants drew their colourful visions, and we shared these within the group.
Reoccurring themes throughout all three parts of the workshop were:
- how we sense personal space in urban environments;
- the distinction between an unwillingness to interact with others and how urban infrastructures often prevent a more personal connection with moving others;
- and how signal overload in urban environments causes physical stress such as noticeable changes in muscle tonus.
One of our future visions was that underground and overground trains should include ‘movement wagons’ where children and adults can relax their bodies through stretching or even dancing, and how beneficial that would be to our personal health and community well-being.
Thank you to the participants for our joint journeys and discoveries.