(Closed) Forest Bathing Workshopby Judith van der Elst

Date: 7 to 9 April 2016

Apply: before April 01  –  info@machinewilderness.net  –

Max 10 participants (please include a short motivation)

Developing digital technologies for the enhancement of sensory experience.  This project is based on the idea that immersion in forest/green environments provides unique and essential benefits for organism health, where for instance ‘seeing green’ is associated, among other things with specific auditory and olfactory qualities. The latter based on the chemical composition of the ambient sphere.
The main objective is to develop digital tools/mobile technologies that enable recognition and navigation of these and other beneficial sensory qualities in the environment. Some of these may not even be known at this point; therefore the urgency of this project is to reconnect the digital back to the physical world to identify the looming loss of such qualities.

To introduce the concept of biosemiotics that underpins a new direction in sensory research and design. Biosemiotics is considered the transdisciplinary “field focused on the myriad forms of communication and signification observable both within and between living systems, the study of representation, meaning and sense…”
During the workshop we will think and prototype technologies that can function as ‘interpretants’ to facilitate inter-species’ communications, languages we as humans for instance don’t understand and/or beyond our sensory range.
Furthermore, the underlying idea is to initiate a network for novel research/design configurations. As such, it also forms a precursor to a workshop in the land (Italy May 2016), as a prototype for rural residencies in which these novel research and design collaborations can take root.

Format of the workshop: each day is divided into a theoretical and practical component.
Sign up for the entire workshop or for separate days.

Background literature on biosemiotics will be distributed to confirmed participants as pdf prior to the workshop.


Day 1              introduction Senses of the Land
•    Biosemiotics/presentation
•    Plant communication (guest lecture Claud Biemans)

•    Planting in the park, plants coming from Italy rooting in a new home in Dutch soil. (adaptation)

Day2              Capturing/Translantion
•    Discussion and brainstorm about data and sensory information networks;
•    Testing (making) an odor capturing instrument

Forest Bathing dinner
An invited dinner on Friday evening in the Park – sensory landscapes

Day3             Cartographies of Human Sensation
•    A sensor assisted exploration of the vegetated world in Amstelpark
•    understanding sensory richness through embodied learning
with Jonathan Reus and Sissel Marie Tonn



Cartographies of Human Sensation proposes a set of instruments that attune the wearer to her environment through metasensory perception of biometric signals and reconfigurations of body-environment relationships through radical body extensions.  When we perceive nature we experience a whole sea of relations: the wind touching our skin, bright and vibrant colors, odors and sounds that weave into an impression of the place. Within this project we use our instrumental devices to drive speculative field research methods for collecting, categorizing and mapping sensation in natural environments, thus proposing a more temporally and physiologically conscious approach to cartography.
During the workshop we invite participants on prepared walks with the instruments. The walks are ongoing conversations with participants, evolving over time and in different locations. They are site-specific, and offer participants a unique opportunity to reflect upon the way they perceive the environment while we will also be prototyping other possible sensory instruments.

Office Rietveld Huis
Amstelpark 4
1083 HZ Amsterdam