What is isolation inertia doing to my brain? How are spatial navigation and cognition connected? Why are members of some cultures so good at navigating without compasses or maps? How can creative wayfinding benefit us? In this interactive online workshop, we will explore the art and science of finding our way.
Through illustration and storytelling, we will look at the neuroscience of spatial navigation, from our cellular toolkit to the systems in place that encode our wayfinding ability. How names, emotions and memories anchor our inner experience to places. In the workshop, sisters Amy and Dora Young will explore how different spatial habits have developed alongside cultural and gendered identities. We will also investigate how maintaining ‘memory-scapes’ by attaching meaning to distinguishing features in our surroundings is an ancient, disappearing tradition.
We will delve into the importance of using your spatial navigation and its effect on your mental health and its role in neurodegenerative disorders; particularly pertinent in our isolated, digitalising, urbanising worlds. GPS mapping technology can give us a route from A to B but it doesn’t require the skills or sense of place that can improve our abilities of spatial navigation, with benefits for cognitive functioning and mental health.
How is our world being reshaped by technologies, and how can we work with them to our benefit? In this workshop we will explore how alternative mapping projects can help us connect to our landscapes. Using geo-location technology to pin poetry to maps, Waywriting, developed by Dora Young, offers one such possibility. Poetry has, historically, offered essential relief in moments of crisis, but it also offers perspectives on other people’s realms of cognition. There has never been a better time to share emotive geographies, helping us to navigate our own and each other’s changing landscapes.
Bring a pen, paper, and your stories of place!
Can people learn a new ‘sense’? And if so, how can you prove that? How does it feel to experience this new faculty? What happens in the brain when this new sense is active? feelSpace, which originated from the neurobiopsychological workgroup of the University of Osnabrueck, have asked themselves these interesting questions since 2005 and Susan will give us an insight into their research:
The project group “feelSpace” was launched and a “vibrating compass belt” was built as an “artificial sensory organ”, continuously indicating north to its wearer. The subjects were excited by the experience of walking northbound for a few weeks, and the results were very striking. The first project was followed by a second, then a third and so on … it soon became clear that the belt is not only applicable in research but is also truly useful in everyday life. Meanwhile, the compass belt has been developed into a high-quality navigation solution.
Find feelSpace on Twitter and Facebook.
We still pay rent for our residency. Please consider donating here to support EDGE, the Youngs and Waywriting domain fees, and TopLab (suggested donation: 8-10€)
Image credits: Jack Dobson