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The lake at the southern border between Ontario and Quebec. Photo by Petra Rethmann

Attuning Our Senses

Bringing sensorial attention to the world around opens us up to the presence of others: humans, non-humans, other-than-humans. Dr Petra Rethmann publishes multimedia essay on sensorial attunement, which is the seventh piece in the 2020 Visions: Imagining (Post-) COVID Worlds series, which aims to reflect on the uneven impacts of the “pandemic year” and to consider new futures that might be made possible in its wake. Series editors: Weishun Lu, Juniper Lewis, Richelle Wilson, and Addie Hopes. Edge Effects is a digital magazine about environmental issues produced by graduate students at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE), a research center within the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

May 07, 2021

Excerpt from the text:

"In asking us to look around rather than ahead, anthropologists, biologists, historians, and Indigenous and literary scholars have started to point to the significance of listening to help cultivate new perspectives. For example, David Haskell, whom I’ve mentioned before, incorporates practices from meditation to connect with the life that goes on in a small patch of old-growth-forest in Tennessee. I, too, learned from meditation, especially those associated with the collected concentration practices accentuated in zen. Here I find the feeling-listening practice taught by Martine Batchelor especially helpful. Feeling-listening recognizes that there is a tonality to our feelings, and that atmospheres and moods are marked by tones, vibes, and sounds. Exterior stimuli weave themselves into interior senses, emotions, and thoughts. There is no discrete boundary between what we habitually call the environment, our consciousness, and our senses."

View the full piece here