Scale Travel

Scale Travel is a workshop series designed as part of the Neuhaus curriculum hosted by het Nieuwe Instituut that explores the possibility to achieve multi-species living together.

The project is triggered by the imagery Jorge Borges painted in his story “the Aleph”, a point that contains all points. A place where everything can be seen and are seeing at the same time. I don’t read it as a magical existence, nor does it stand for a all-so-powerful vantage point, instead, it offers a type of sensibility, a sensitivity beyond logic and thinking. It is a sensitivity cultivated through living experience and knowledge together, therefore I designed a workshop that tries to traverse different scales, where subtle connections between them might sparkle new ways of experiencing and engaging in different worlds, one that isn’t coming from the point of gaining an all-knowing power and that exercise total control. This sensitivity, sensibility marks for me, our first step in getting close with our many neighbors on this planet, and in the universe, no matter if we can see, touch, feel or understand them. The reflections of some sessions are captured here.

First week focuses on microbial scale, the scientific eye—microscopic vision, engaging with the world through sense of smell, these topics intersects at the subject of body odor. How does the smell affect our view of each other in different parts of the world? What constitutes the smell of our body, both culturally and biologically? 

Week 2 groups a bunch of scales together for our common misunderstanding of their immobility: fungi, plants, buildings, mountains. Movements in different time scales are felt and practiced in 4 small exercises, and the session ends with participants’ presentation on their own design concerning movements and scales.

Third sessions serves as a summary that ties the first two sessions together by utilizing two thought experiments on the theme: void and stickiness. (In case of gecko, the tiny spaces between the nano cracks on the skin allows for its foot to stick to the wall.) Then a basic introduction to fiction and forensic fiction paves the way for participants to construct a travel manual to help guide their further exploration between different scales and different modes of exist-together with all other beings.