Sensory awareness is strongly connected with body in movement, creates intimate zone. “The body exposes the intrusion of meaning established by existence - absolutely and simply.“ in Corpus, Jean-Luc Nancy said. Philosophical aim of my participation in The Sensory Toolkit are dependencies occurring between feeling, movement and actuality of sense. Aristotle explains movement as ‘the actuality of that which is potentially, as such’. He distinguishes between movement and activity and actuality. During observations of people wearing sensory aware costumes I was looking for this moments of cognitive potential intertwined with the conscious body. Our intimate spaces need sensory cognition in order to fill the gap beetwen being present in flesh and mind at the same time.
I came to Liverpool to work with Sarah Evelyn Marsh on her The Sensory Toolkit project developed during Tate Exchange programme. We didn’t know what could happen. If there is Yellow Submarine, there is long way down! This tailoring and designing interactive pieces was strongly connected with Sarah, who has made this sense-based textiles. So as an assistant to Sarah and a guest as Materya to The Sensory Toolkit I have created two sensory aware costumes, interactive with the thinking body.
Spine collar which gives you hug and comfort anytime you need it and…
Head sensor, that gives you additional waight and different textures feelings during laying.
Spine collar takes your head, your neck, your spine and triggers them together, in feeling warmth, softness, comfortable hug around you. Somehow it seems to hug You. Spine collar creates safe space and can switch you attitude after wearing it. It moves with You, anywhere you go, and everywhere you have this private space. Want to play in the background….Anybody seen my baby?
HeadSensor asks what feels your head when it weighted with different textures? Where goes skin of your skull when is connected via outfit with your spine and neck? How does it feel when lay down in it? And when you wear it? How centre of your body wanders at your sensory grid?
My first philosophical thoughts about The Sensory Toolkit project I give you for the discussion:
- The people who immersed themselves in the space of The Sensory Toolkit were more open to conversation, they seemed to feel as if they were in a safe space that cares about them. The guests talked about their creative activities and sensory experiences, as well as everyday life and everyday struggles.
- Sarah, as the author of an interactive space that seems to function alone, turned out to be the most important link there - "I am here to meet you, you are important to me". - Such a message circulated in space, and visitors to the Toolkit felt invited to talk through their hands, feet, minds. Direct contact with the author was very intelectually stimulating for both Sarah and the visitors.
- the space had a positive impact on the people who participated in it, raised their sense of empowerment, self-confidence - it acted at the subjective level - I am the person, who can change, touch, and understand here, this space is being shaped by me, for me, and this is art without a need to be named so
- human relations were shaped by partnership - Sarah introduced each newcomer to the possibilities of this space. Thanks to this, people entering the space did not feel alone or left behind. They began to understand deeper and deeper - regardless of age - their abilities and gestures, their body in motion - when using interactive objects.
- this somatic research appeared to be just joyfull for people participating in it. Just like being in the somatic bubble of feeling ART, "art hidden in my sensing body". Art is about feeling, doesn't it? This paradigm was giving people different sensing of the space than art gallery itself, where they were suppose to behave in the formal, specific way as a exhibition visitors
What is fascinating, sensory costumes interacted with audience regardless of age, background, cognitive skills. What makes your body think? Have you ever went this path?
Sensory costumes find their meanings and textures based on the people they are sewn for and the spaces in which they begin to function. When I sew an object, I enchant it with certain intentions, feelings and searches. So that the person who wears it can experience the uniqueness of oneself and one's experiences from the very beginning. Slow costumes, slow wearing a clothing. Slow reaching for the ritual of clothing and cognitive experiencing the world.
Creation of sensory costumes took place in the Tate space, during the Project. This amazing idea was Sarah proposal to keep ideas fresh and be ready to add new objects. Sarah is an inventor of this sensory space and she presents this idea of space in the process. Questions rise when are needed and what is the most important - you estabblish in her spaces calmness and cognitive development. Setting a goal in the places of emerging roads allows for BEING. Action philosophy - that’s the spirit. Plus laughter. Unconditionally. Oh yeah, and Toyota sewing machine sound.