Thinking Spatially & beyond
In this digital age, we are more and more able to go about life without connecting with the space we inhabit. Through sensory mapping, you are forced to pay attention to the world and all that it has to give. Spatial literacy is your ability to understand and interpret the texture, forms, shapes, and colors of your surroundings and use that information to solve problems. Not only are you taking in the information of the place, but you are also having to communicate that on your map. How do you translate aural information into a visual representation? By switching between several different modes of thinking, you can exercise your curiosity to the fullest extent.
Although we often rely heavily on sight when moving around the world, there are other senses that we can use to take in our surroundings. By tapping into all of your senses, you can have a more holistic experience of the world and find something interesting where before there was the only insignificance. Instead of letting the world drift by, unnoticed, find a deeper connection with your surroundings through multisensory perception.
In addition to smell, sight, taste, touch, and hearing, there are two more senses that we can use, proprioception and wonder. Proprioception is the awareness of your own body, where it is, and how it moves. By moving around and exploring the place you will be mapping, you will pay attention to how your body moves within it. The final sense that you will be using is wonder. What thoughts and curiosities does the place bring to mind?
Self-guided Sensory Mapping Activity Sheet
Download the self-guided activity sheet here
Coming to Your Senses:
Explanatory Navigation and Sensory Map-Making
How do our senses inform our understanding of the world around us? Do we use our senses to their fullest extent? When you move around in a space, do you tend to rely on one sense to guide you more than the others? How would your experience of the space change if you were to focus on them all equally?
In Coming to Your Senses, you will create a sensory map of a space you occupy using all of your senses as guides. This space could be outdoors or indoors, big or small, a kitchen, park, or neighborhood. What’s important is that you invoke all of your senses as you map the space.
Individually or in small groups, you will create a sensory map to capture the spirit of a place you inhabit using the five senses, plus proprioception and wonder. This can be done in a park, an urban setting, or at home, as long as you listen to all of your senses. If working in a group, you will have to employ your abilities to communicate across different modes to create a map that encompasses all of the senses. Whether performed individually or cooperatively, this activity can be done by people of different generations, backgrounds, and interests. Someone who doesn’t feel comfortable drawing could write or explore other forms of mark-making. Think about including different languages or ways of thinking in your map and going beyond your comfort zone.