Julia Wagner

Attention Recalibration

Workshop & creative mapping
Jan 2021 | Rovereto (IT)

This project was realized by Kim Kaborda and I during a Design Residency with Brave New Alps (BNA) in Winter 2020/21. Kim and I met in Rovereto as residents. The residency is part of BNAs project La Foresta - Accademia di communità, an open network of associations, informal groups and citizens, whose goals are open-access community spaces, collective experimentation and participatory learning(1) in the rural area of Rovereto and Vallagarina. They want to activate the area and its citizens to partake in designing a community economy that is accessible to everyone, sustainable and responsible.

During the residency, our initial plan was to design a workshop program, tailored to the area, we were currently living in to explore, learn and get to know this territory(2) and our place within it with different local groups. However, due to the nationwide lockdown in Italy, we had to restructure the project. This involuntary step into the non-personal sphere turned out to bring the opportunity to think bigger. Initially, we had a very local, taylored approach. We found a way to build workshops that worked on a global scale but allowed the participants to discover their own region.

For the project “Attention Recalibration” we designed several workshop scenarios to train the senses with the help of aesthetic research methods(3) and the more-than-human-societies surrounding us. They will be published to serve as a starting point for self-organized collaborative work and learning.

Each workshop focuses on a specific way to observe unknown or familiar terrain or even the unknown within familiar terrain. Through different techniques of observation, regional distinctions are embraced and embodied. The workshops help the participants to reclaim the public space for imagination and collective learning. Each exercise is followed by joint discussions that transfer the generated situated knowledge into the group. Participants will share their findings and impressions and reflect on their approach together. Groups can then collect their work in a zine together to remember their experience by and to share it with others.

Although the contents of the workshops do not build on each other, we classified them into five didactically sequential modes of exploration.

  • Stimulation: getting comfortable in and with your environment
  • Notice: focusing on particular elements in your environment by translating subjective impressions
  • Collect: focusing on particular elements in your environment and work with them hands-on
  • Analyze: reflecting on signals and traces
  • Interpret: depicting options for more-than-human-collaboration

  • The workshops propose to counteract the current flow of excessive information and alienation from our surroundings by reconnecting with our direct environment to foster both individual and collective agency. We want to learn collectively how to recalibrate our perceptual apparatus to focus on the here and now, and to recontextualize our actions and emotions within our lived environment.

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