Sensory Scrapbook: A (Mis)Guide to the SGW Campus by Cathleen Evans and Danica Pinteric
“There is no fixed physical reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of interpreting world views as dictated by one’s nervous system and the specific environment of our planetary existence”
In our (mis)guide to Concordia University, we attempt to reject and refute these traditional dualistic paradigms—the mind and the body, the map and its user—by curating an embodied sensory experience of our place of study. Inspired by the inventive tactics and theories of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Elizabeth Grosz, and the Situationist International, we have created an interactive “sensory scrapbook” of the Sir George William campus, filled with pages of prompts, considerations, and re-purposed materials urging its user to not only see, but taste, touch, hear, and smell their campus in a different manner.
Aimed at drawing attention to how each embodied sense affects our perception and understanding of environment, our (mis)guide contains instructions for five different activities, each of which isolates one of the senses as a means for understanding conscious experience of public space (keeping in mind that sensory faculties vary between individuals). Ultimately, our sensory scrapbook urges its users to function under the motto of “I do, therefore I am”—identifying not simply as bodily vessels moving through a pre-existing campus, but as embodiments of their own school; sensory beings rejecting a set scholarly and structural roadmap and pioneering their own unique state of being.
We organized the senses by most “external” (vision, hearing) inward to the most personal, and “intimate” senses (smell and taste). The order in which the activities come is as follows:
Location: The EV Building
Activity: Navigate the main floor using only the reflections you see in a provided mirror.
Location: The McConnell Library Building
Activity: Transcribe an overheard conversation, and use your imagination to continue the dialogue with your group.
Location: The John Molson School of Business Building
Activity: Follow instructions to hunt down and catalogue specific textures on the first four floors of the MB.
Location: The Hall Building
Activity: Catalogue, Envision, and draw the smells you encounter on 7th floor of the Hall building.
Location: Le Frigo Vert
Activity: Create character biographies for different tastes that you encounter at Concordia’s not-for-profit food shop.