Letters to the void – more-than-human

Bergson proposes a perceptual framework that connects us to a vibrant material world – extending ‘subjects’ and ‘objects’ along a spectrum of temporal movement. Bergson proposes exceeding what he describes as our ‘human’ habits of perception and intellection.

He suggests we are not restricted to a linear reading of the world, instead a more-than-human sensitivity is used to feel the intensive difference of material forces – already within our experience but requiring a break in our perceptual habits in order to be fully open to its potential.

Following Bergson’s theory my investigations understands that our ‘human’ perception is affected by ‘ungraspable’ material forces and intensities which, even if not perceived participate in our experience.

Ideas around ‘more-than-human’ have been proposed by many.  Manning suggests a concept which speaks directly to the human body with its (habitually unperceived) milieu: ‘a relational milieu that exceeds the human’.  This allows us to consider imperceptible movements that underscore human experience, but which exceed our ability to consciously capture or represent them.

In May 2021 I travelled to Northumberland to work with Deborah Bell, (water dowser) to test motion capture technology. My aim; to seek to visualise this unique human ability of sensing subterranean water sources. We spend time testing the best ways to capture the movement of Deborah’s dowsing rod (Hazel sticks)

To track movement as it was sensed through the wood and transmitted energy to Deborah’s walking body. Her hands in turn receive and decode those energies to read the invisible landscape below her feet.

This project specifically considers the human body as a porous and receptive threshold for sensing and attuning to the experiences of its milieu.

To disrupt the usual linear reading of the land when walking this project seeks to pause, hold and displace, allowing movement to guide perception towards a mode of sensing that is more attuned with the multiple ways in which the world is active around us.

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