Gry Worre Hallberg
Karen Blixens Vej 1, 2300 København S, Bygning 21, Building: 21-5-36
In this artistic research PhD I investigate how the sensuous might support a transition towards a more sustainable future by engaging theory on aesthetics and ecology in the analysis and discussion of my artistic practice in the projects Dome of Visions and Sisters Academy (by Sisters Hope), responding to the Sensuous Society Manifesto, envisioning a potential future world governed by aesthetic premises, written as a response to the financial crack in 2008 and to the on-going ecological crisis. In my practice over the last decade I have been interested in ways to ‘democratize the aesthetic’ (cf. the Sensuous Society Manifesto), by which I mean to open the access to the sensuous and poetic mode of being in the world. Thus, both projects share this intention, and they each, in different ways, tease out ways to accomplish that. Very roughly put, the dome-shaped temporary construction Dome of Visions provides a sensuous and poetic space to the general public for aesthetic contribution and creation due to its open curatorial framework, and Sisters Academy works through a performance method evoking the sensuous and poetic aspects of our being within a highly immersive performance-installationary space. As I have understood both projects to be research-based from the beginning, expansive reflective in situmaterial has been generated by the participants in the projects. Subtractions of this material will be included as empirical ‘data’. In my analysis I will apply the three-phased ritual process (van Gennep  2013; Turner 1974;  2008;  2014; Fischer-Lichte 2008; Fischer-Lichte and Wihstutz 2018) and the three ecologies (Guattari  2008) as analytical operational frameworks.
Aesthetics: In continuation of Baumgarten ( 1954; [1750–1758] 1961) and the aesthetic philosophy following him, I understand the aesthetic experience, perception and cognition to be experience, perception and cognition through the senses. As, among others, Thyssen (2005) argues, the aesthetic dimension is always present, in that we always sense the world. However, we cultivate this dimension in art. Aesthetic is, thus, understood as sensuous experience, perception and cognition. Art is understood as a cultivation of the aesthetic and thus as space for intensified sensuous experience, perception and cognition. The sensuous experience and realization of the world, furthermore, allow the poetic mode of being to emerge, characterized by openness, more specifically to something else and more than to the merely physically and empirically measurable (D. Jørgensen 2003; 2014; 2018).
Ecology: Central to ecological theory is the realization of the interconnectedness of all things. A thread can be traced from Bateson ( 2000;  1984) to Guattari ( 2008;  1995), for example in his three ecologies, to the contemporary thinking of, among others, Latour (2011;  2017;  2018), Braidotti (2013; 2019), Stengers (2005; 2010), Neimanis (2016) and Haraway (2015; 2016) . Bateson argues that the most probable way out of the ecological crisis is to instil in humans a new epistemology that he terms an ecology of mind, whose primary function is to realize the profound interconnectedness of all things.
In the analyses of the subtracted in situ ‘data’, which is generated while the participants are in a sensuous and poetic mode, I apply the research question: What is the impact of Dome of Visions’ and Sisters Academy’s evocation of the aesthetic on the participants? And what does that tell us about how the aesthetic, and thus the sensuous, might support the transition towards a more sustainable future?