Sensory Cartographies

worn sound instruments, physiological data recording devices, body-sensory extensions


Supported By
STROOM Den Haag          MultiMadeira Logo

The project Sensory Cartographies is an ongoing collaboration with artist Sissel Marie Tonn. In this project we seek to explore extreme and information-rich environments through the motions of internal physiological movements. At the center of the project is the creation of wearable sensors and neuro-sensory attunement instruments that attempt to address notions of cartography, collection, categorization and navigation originating the in colonial “golden age” of botany, drawing a line between these impulses to categorise nature to the biometric measurement and monitoring technologies of today. A living document of this work can be found at

In February of 2016, we traveled to the oldest primal forest in Europe, found in the upper altitudes of the island of Madeira. With the intention of creating 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 physiological data gathering devices and sensory-extension instruments to challenge the body’s conditioned ways of moving through the environment in a playful way. We see these devices as wayfinding apparatuses for reshaping a sensory worldview – knowing momentarily without focus, knowing one’s body outside of rational classifiers – 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 recordings side-by-side with century-old archived plant specimens, as a contemporary entry into their collection.