September 2023 | Esther Lu, Huang Ding. Yun, Henry Tan | Sanyi Miaoli, Taiwan
If human could hibernate like other animals, could we live and rest in a rhythm that brings us closer to nature?
What would happen to our bodies and minds as we slow down our metabolism, consumption and production?
What can we learn from a collective sleeping experience to share our vulnerability and body boundaries, or even create a co-sensing space?
Is there any form of social or cultural hibernation that we can create to allow us to coordinate our rest patterns and cultivate unforeseen connections and networks?
Can the Free Naps movement contribute to the climate crisis?
When the climate becomes a threat to our survival, we prepare to pause ourselves in time in order to survive the harsh environment. However, what do we miss? Will it extend our lifespan? How can we prepare our “torpor”?
A morning walk searching for the mycelium
What make a sleeper?
Self introduction on personal sleep habit
Nap like an animal
Greet and sniff your new friends
Greeting and Sniffing
Building Cocoon for Collective Hibernation
Sleep like a BAT
Searching for the myecelium
Esther: It took us so much time to plan for this workshop, but still many surprises rolled out. My absolute favorite part goes to the night walk + deep listening exercise. We planned on the activity, but not on details, especially we ran out of preparation time after our arrival at the venue. It even came as a shock to me on the first night to realize that I was the one who would be leading it. By that late hour (1AM) Ding Yun passed out already! Henry was also crying for exhaustion. Haha! Alright, I was the only sober one, so here we go. I did not have a clue where to go at the beginning. OK. I thought, “let the night lead us then.”
Deep listening is a beautiful and mysterious exercise because you do not know what and how you would encounter. How deep is deep? It can be a meditation technique. It can be an attention training, or simply a way to let go the rest of other senses. It is like tuning your ears, your heart and brain to listen with care and a direction at the same time. By instinct, I wanted to find the darkest spot of the area, and try to dim everyone’s visual power while enhancing the auditory experience. I asked participants not to use light unless in the case of emergency. Many insects, birds, frogs and moon-lit shades came to greet us along the way. The texture of night became vivid and alive, as our eyes gradually adapted the night vision. Even though, you still would not know if you could see more or less under such circumstance. Light was thin and pale. Black had thousands of new names. One thing for sure: night is deep.
I liked how quiet the second night walk went. We marched like a strange flock of animal. Without any verbal communication, the whole group stayed tightly together throughout. We learned to pay lots of attention to the group movement, and I almost felt it was auto-choreography at some point. Our movement flew like a soft creek, running through the night, and I felt that we were sensed by other animals in a more pronounced definition too. Deep listening became reciprocal. I turned tenderer, sharing the sky as a blanket with other lives.
Esther: It was such a crazy, intense and almost imitating experience to host and conclude this event. My entire body had to process this restless status with enormous energy, which I find quite ironic but also interesting at the same time. Sleep become so tangible and was a true political battle in this process. One of the most striking final discussion for me took place by the very end of the workshop. We were sitting together in great exhaustion and I felt my consciousness almost failed me, keeping drifting away. At some point, we talked how all the Anthropocene discourses asked us to think beyond our human minds while we were conditioned and constrained in our physical materiality. Our attempt to imitate animals or learn from other species could be just a romantic imagination and not applicable for human practice. I agreed with the physical limitation, but I wanted to emphasize on the cross-species collaboration that had been always taking place (like mycelium!), and the importance of imagination to face the climate crisis and our precarious reality…Somehow we jumped to the role of artist in the Anthropocene era is left to “analyze feelings,” as that could be the most ethical conduct to perform. I remembered how we laughed on this idea…
I mean, to analyze feelings of human and non-human acquires sympathy and sensibility that are fortunately not yet the capacity of AI. Somehow, this bottom of “analyze feelings” sticks to me, and I am wondering how abstract and significant that can affect how we shape our world today