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Becoming Sensor in Sentient Worlds: Protocols for an Ungrid-able Ecology in an Ancient Oak Savannah

Becoming Sensor asks what modes of attention need to be cultivated to pay attention to these oak savannah lands that have been paying very close attention to all the transformations taking shape around them over millennia. How could our sensing practices do justice to documenting the beings and doings, not only of an oak tree, but also the vast numbers of creatures rooting, weaving, and winding their ways across these lands? Becoming sensor demands subtle attunements of our always already synesthetic sensoria. It demands cultivating new modes of embodiment, attention, imagination, and new ways of telling stories about lands and bodies.

Working at the cusp of art, ecology, and anthropology, Becoming Sensor aims to do ecology otherwise. The images and sounds of this installation are the “data” we have generated for an ungrid-able ecology of this naturalcultural happening. Our protocols reinvent ecological modes of attention and data forms by cultivating synaesthetic attunements to the land through forms of kinesthetic imaging and kinesthetic listening.

These protocols are not intended to re-colonize these lands with yet more settler colonial stories. Nor do they appropriate Indigenous knowledge or practice. Rather, our aim to expand the discursive field in which stories about bodies and lands can be told. Consider these attunements as one way that settlers can ally themselves with the remarkable work of Indigenous activists and scholars in the name of decolonization.


Participant: Natasha MYERS
Dept. of Anthropology | York University
Presentation:"Unsettling Ecological Restoration in an Urban Oak Savannah"