Beautiful rituals – a speculative proposal for behaviour change

April 9, 2015 § 2 Comments

Sit Down And Be Counted

In my volunteer work, I hear how badly people are suffering from deep loneliness. It may be part of the human condition, but here in the West it’s an epidemic of sorts. It’s not spoken about much but it’s killing people.

When someone admits to being lonely, “obvious” solutions like joining a club, signing up to night classes or annoying people at bus stops are offered. *Sigh*

How can people just connect with each others’ presence more: (a simple pure presence) without advice, clinginess, deranged moods or agendas?

Where do people go when they want silence, peace and the possibility of hanging out with humans for only 5 minutes?
A cigarette break.

Despite consistent efforts and an oral fixation, I don’t smoke. With a little envy though, I see smokers effortlessly chat, share a light or some other accessory and just stand there, breathing in and out quietly together.

lt’s kind of similar to the way a lot of men just sit at bars drinking. It looks like they don’t talk much of the time, they just enjoy each other’s presence whilst doing something simple.

Ideally alcohol and smoking addictions will be obsolete. But how great would it be if we sat around just drinking water together quietly?

OK, so what I am suggesting is that we state and take all of the beauty of these habits and transfer them across to solve one of the biggest ailments of our time: loneliness and isolation.

How about some kind of natural and acceptable urban ritual that involves people just standing together – breathing and possibly commenting on something relating to said ritual?

How about we have specified points or times for breathing rituals, drinking rituals, laughing rituals, sitting rituals, talking rituals, sky watching rituals, ranting rituals, rolling-downhill-on-grass rituals, board-gaming rituals, burning-your-ex’s-stuff rituals, dancing rituals, raw-food ingestion rituals etc.

The utilitarian and tribal aspect of how people relate to each other needs to be shaken up.  We need randomness and ritual combined.

How can we create new ways of safely and quietly being in the presence of others? No strings, no expectations and plenty of tacit boundaries.

21st century life doesn’t have to be so rational and efficient, does it? Let’s just BE with each other.

This entry was first written for the Your Turn Challenge – a 7-day blogging challenge inspired by the Your Turn book by Seth Godin. It ran from Jan 19 – 25, 2015. Check out the book at  Photo by Seth Anderson

Soma}News – Issue 5

November 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Soma-related emotion news from Sept/Oct 2014. Connections to art, tech, memory, smell, touch, memory, pain and more…

Screenshot 2014-10-14 12.47.44

“What sex and birth look like through an MRI machine” is a collection of Magnetic Resonance Imagery. Beautiful and captivating. (NSFW)

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What I learnt at The School of Machines, Making and Make-believe

October 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

PDF to view at Issuu

Links to a PDF >

One month, 13 students, countless visiting artists and a huge array of creative coding. I was delighted to take the opportunity this July to take part in ‘Responsive Spaces’. The culmination was an interactive installation group show in a warehouse space in Urban Spree, Friedrichstein. Many thanks to Rachel Uwa, the brains behind the genius. Click on the image above to see the full PDF.

What are Emotions, Feelings and Sensations? Composite or Hierarchical models?

October 23, 2014 § 1 Comment

A visitor to this blog, Aghar just asked “I have this question: What is a feeling, emotion, and sensation? are they different things?”. Thanks for asking!

So I started reflecting visually…

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Sonja Bäumel

October 1, 2014 § 2 Comments

Sonja Bäumel is a fashion designer based in Austria who collaborates with microbiologists to create stunning art. My favourite at the moment is the Human Petri Dish. Check out her bountiful site. You can also access a full paper she presented at Design4Health 2013 conference here.

Screenshot 2014-10-01 19.01.15

Cartography of the Human Body, 2010/11, in collaboration with Erich Schopf

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Soma}News – July/August

September 10, 2014 § 1 Comment

Soma-related emotion news. Connections to tech, memory, smell, touch, fashion, stand-up comedy and more…

Thanks to Focus Features for the pic. « Read the rest of this entry »

Soma}News – May/June

August 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

A round-up of soma-related emotion research and connections to mobile tech, media, crossing senses…

Taste metaphors engage the emotional brain

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    Research on Emotion, The Body and Feeling
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    This blog is interested in the places where design, emotions, the body, our senses, Spirit and Science meet. What is experience? How do we know what we feel? In what ways can we research these? Emotionally}Vague the name comes from a project I started a few years ago, link below, in honour of those who don't know how they feel: my own not-knowing was the beginning of the questioning. I'd really love to hear your opinions, feedback or general points-of-view.
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