A Sensory Cartography of Madeira
worn sound synthesizers, biometric recording devices, body extensions worn in the cloud forests of Madeira
The project Sensory Cartographies is an ongoing collaboration between myself and Sissel Marie Tonn. In this project we seek to explore extreme and information-rich sensory environments through the motions of biometric recordings. At the center of the project is the creation of worn instrumentations that attempt to address notions of collection, categorization and navigation from originating the in colonial “golden age” of botany, to the biometric
measurement and monitoring technologies today.
In February of 2016 we traveled to the cloud forests of Madeira in order to create a contemporary entry into the herbarium of the Jardim Botanico in Funchal. The herbarium holds an archive of conserved plant species and taxidermized animals dating back to the 16th century, and serves as a blueprint of the history of colonization and acclimatization of plant species from the new world.
In Madeira we created worn biometric and body-extension instruments to challenge the body’s conditioned attention in a playful way. We see them as wayfinding apparatuses for reshaping a worldview – knowing momentarily without focus – creating an alternative cartography that is attentive to subtle fluctuations of change.
The trip culminated with an exhibition in the natural history museum of the botanical gardens, where we exhibited our instruments and annotated biometric data logs side-by-side with century-old archived plant specimens, as a contemporary entry into their collection.