Speculations on a more-than-human sensorium

spatial practice and becoming-with others

  • Emilie Evans, Ms independent scholar
  • Charity Edwards, Ms Monash University
Keywords: interior, sensorium, more-than-human, climate change, pedagogy, spatial practice, becoming-with

Abstract

This paper challenges the notion of a human sensorium through critically reviewing the 2016 Honours project, Hydrophilous and the Observatorium, of Interior Architecture graduate Emilie Evans. Evans’ speculative design project highlights the boundless relations and encounters with which human bodies are inescapably intertwined. Her graduating design project manifests the consideration of other bodies—both living and non-living—in spatial practice and questions the authoritative role of designer as sole author of any project. Instead Evans acknowledges beings, forces and processes beyond human that we are inextricably engaged with. In reflecting on this project, we discuss perceived binaries of human and more-than-human sensoriums, and demonstrate how these conventions obscure the ways humans attempt to control nature via interiorised landscapes. Evans’ work illustrates the commingling of bodies, materialities and sensorial affects that stretch beyond the realm of a speculative student project, and which speak to tangible and immediate futures. Emerging debates about the Anthropocene have prompted key aspects of this project, as well as a desire to design for a fluctuating environment: the hyper-saline water body of Don Juan Pond in Eastern Antarctica. This review explores entangled bodies, landscapes, and sensorial experimentation, and ultimately demands a reconfigured understanding of designers working in spatial practice. As such, we posit their strength as ‘curators’, and nature as any project’s true creator, while acknowledging humans’ limited power in a world of forces primarily beyond their hitherto-assumed control. Rethinking the future(s) of spatial practice involves ‘becoming-with’ others in space and time, and privileging a more-than-human sensorium allows us to design-with a vast assemblage of beings, forces, and planetary processes.

Author Biographies

Emilie Evans, Ms, independent scholar

Emilie Evans is a writer, interior architect, and Honours graduate of Monash University. She practices in Melbourne, Australia in a variety of spatial, graphic, and narrative mediums; and is an independent scholar. Her freelance design focus is on installation projects and co-working environments. Emilie's current research interests lie at the intersection of speculative design and science fiction, and she continues to contribute to the academy via interior architecture examination panels and collaborative writing projects. 

 

Charity Edwards, Ms, Monash University

Charity Edwards is an architect, urban researcher, and lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Architecture. With over 15 years of practice experience, Charity continues to collaborate with other spatial practitioners to create interiors, buildings and landscapes in Melbourne, regional Victoria, and internationally. She teaches design studio and contemporary theory in Interior Architecture and urban processes in Architecture, with a focus on interdisciplinary concerns involving media and more-than-human experiences. Charity is undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne on Antarctic geo-imaginaries and the increasing urbanisation of the Southern Ocean. Her current research focuses on the relationship between the ocean, planetary urbanisation, and representations of climate change.

As part of Melbourne’s culture of design discourse, she has written for local and national media, and spoken at architectural debates. She has also been an active ‘re-writer’ of notable Australian women architects into history with the international Women.Wikipedia.Design initiative. Most recently, Charity has presented at the AHRA 2016 Architecture & Feminisms conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston, USA. 

 

Published
2018-01-14
How to Cite
Evans, Emilie, and Charity Edwards. 2018. “Speculations on a More-Than-Human Sensorium”. IDEA JOURNAL, January, 130-47. http://idea-edu.com/journal/index.php/home/article/view/10.
Section
Design Research Paper