Sensuous society – Beyond economic rationality
A L L * T O M O R R O W S * D R E A M S
manifesting ** transformation
The End is a New Beginning: In 2008, the financial world cracked, opening a gap for a new paradigm to emerge. We regard the crack as a major opportunity.
The New Paradigm: We wish to take this opportunity and support the transition to the new by living and breeding in the cracks. From here we move.
The Sensuous Society: We will draw from the aesthetic dimension as a source of inspiration to inform the dawning world — We will call it: The Sensuous Society.
The Sensuous Society? As critical theory has pointed out, the economic system has largely governed and dominated Western society since the industrialization, and rational thought has controlled unnatural, constructed hierarchies of perception ever since the Enlightenment. Rational thought has been our dominating validating principle, and economic premises such as efficiency, duty, and discipline have largely dominated everyday life in Western society. Our institutions have been defined by these values, as have our modes of being, and of being together. However, the current ecological and economic crisis show that this is not sustainable and leads to a fundamental de-enchantment of the life-world of modern (wo)man.
Aesthetic Interventions: But its time has come. In opposition to economic achievements stand the artistic or, rather, the aesthetic. Its modes of operating are based on premises such as: phantasy, desire, and, not the least, sensuous experience of and engagement in the world. Artistic output is the quintessence of an ultimately aesthetic mode of being the world. The notion of a sensuous society allows for a reshaping of the role of art and artistic practice. An autonomous approach to art is itself the product of the dominance of the economic dimension. Within this autonomous zone, the art genius is a celebrated figure, conceived as someone with a very special (transcending) intelligence. In the Sensuous Society however, we believe artistic practice will be a more commonly shared intelligence, simply because we all have this creative potential within us, and if our starting point and mode of being in the world is that of the sensuous, this potential will be released. We humans all have and always have had the potential for this aesthetic mode of being and being together in the world. However, the ways in which this mode has been made the exclusive domain of the artist has resulted in a collective longing in the Western world. Our arms have been cut, yet caught in the in the ever-turning wheels of efficiency that drive our society. We keep on moving forward without noticing the blood flowing from our armpits. We need to democratize the aesthetic mode of being to overcome the longing and suffering caused by the general disconnection from the arts. In the Sensuous Society, the aesthetic dimension will serve as a key source of inspiration. Step by step, those involved in the movement toward the Sensuous Society will proceed to intervene in societal institutions. They will start from the crack and engage from there. Ultimately, these actions will not limit themselves to spaces dedicated to a sensuous mode of being in the world, but will themselves constitute the primary mode of being.
Poetic Revolution: The road to the Sensuous Society is paved with poetic revolutions and poetic revolutionaries taking the necessary interventionist steps.
No Utopia: Sensuous Society is no utopia. Sensuous society is a framework to explore the radical potential of the aesthetic dimension, the sensuous and the poetic as the highest values of society. What kind of society would that create?
Performance Experiments: We have no way of answering that question because we have not yet lived it. What we do have is the possibility to explore it through performance experiments. By putting our flesh to the idea we can embody future visions and thus explore what the Sensuous Society could be. While we explore, we carve the path.
The School of a Sensuous Society: The performance experiment Sisters Academy is such an experiment. In Sisters Academy we embody the school of a Sensuous Society. Through immersive strategies, we transform space as we take over the leadership of a series of Nordic upper secondary schools. Everything, from classrooms to hallways and bathrooms, is transformed physically through set, light, and sound design. Your toilets will be pink, radiant, or dark and filled with a low sound of humming or screams, your class rooms will have turned into a forest, a ritual room, an ancient library, a place underneath the water, or a fox’s cave, and when you approach the leader of the school you will meet us embodying the unheimliche Sisters head mistresses. Gazes will be exchanged. We will welcome you into an office filled with untamed animals, sweet, heavy, deep drinks, stamps, typewriters, fluid chocolate and gold, chains, unwritten letters, fur on top of fur, fur in piles, red carpets, dimmed light, an unseen boarder that you sense, that you cross. That you cross because you are invited to do so. We will become one. But also two. And three. And many. You will sense a scent of times beyond time that will pass through your skin and touch you. Inspire you. Intervene into you. Mirror you. Be you. Breathe. The paradox of control and lush. The method is interactive. When you are at our school you are a student, or a teacher, or a guest of Sisters Academy, and we and our staff will engage with you from this simple premise. The logic of our world. Our poetic and sensuous world. Our school of a Sensuous Society. Our school where we explore new modes of sensuous knowledge creation, teaching, learning. When we change our educational system, we change the lives of many. We reach out. The road to a Sensuous Society is paved with poetic revolutionaries. Such are we as we reach out. As we reach out with kindness in our movement. You will leave your everyday persona behind to explore your potential poetic self as we investigate how we can evoke and activate the senses to deepen the learning experience. We work in interventionist ways as we intervene into everyday life using art to argue for the need for the aesthetic dimension to be an integrated part of everyday life. Not something exclusive and autonomous. We transcend. We intervene. With you.
Transforming Space: The transformation of space is crucial. We create immersive spaces that allow us to navigate the world differently. Like bodies swallowed by the sea, we’ll move dissimilar from upright legs walking the ground beneath our feet. Instinctively, this body will adjust to the fluidity of the water. Try to survive. Take in breath. When we transform space, we liberate new potential. Instinctual.
Transforming Space Impact: Working with the idea of a Sensuous Society is working with a radical premise that changes the DNA of society and thereby everything. It is what you can do when you work with the immersive performance art strategies by which we transform space. You set up a universe and within this universe we all have to play by a new set of rules. Immersed in this universe, tactile knowledge will manifest in the flesh, and eventually the “players” or participants in the universe may begin to act naturally in this new way. Instinctually.
No Utopia Revisited: Sensuous Society is no utopia. There will most probably be winners and losers there as well. Who is going to take the lead? The most beautiful? The ones in touch with their senses? What will the trading system be like? Something that allows you to be even more sensuous? Perhaps from the Sensuous Society we can begin to develop a more balanced state of being, one that draws from all the previous states of society and truly connects heart, mind, body and spirit and creates sustainable trading systems between all members of society. Maybe we can go there already? We ask these questions by means of immersive performance art practices with which we intervene in everyday life contexts, turning them into sites of experiment where we explore how to create a stage for the release of creative, expressive, poetic, and sensuous energy as first steps toward a more balanced and engaging world. Everyone becomes co-makers toward the new.
We will do this
Movement: When you have a cause and create a vibration centered in a universe and manifested in events that inspire others, the world will move in an assured and desired direction.