Liberty Festival 2022

LOCAL SENSES MEMBERS ON THE BRIDGE OVER DEPTFORD CREEK. Image from the film "Mapping in Lewisham", available below.

Over the course of a year LOCAL SENSES researched and developed work for Liberty Festival 2022, a festival celebrating the work of D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists. From July to December 2021 we met weekly to explore the area in and around Deptford Station. Engaging embodied experience through walking and talking together, the group gathered language from beyond the visual inspired via ulterior sensory phenomena: environmental sound (sirens, hustle, bustle), smells (soap powder, samosas), terrain (rubbish or fallen leaves), and environmental text (street signs, shop names). Returning to Deptford Library we workshopped this language into poems, songs, poses and meditation rituals. Seeking to retain a connection to the site of the work's inspiration, we employed these outputs as inspiration for a number of sensory walking routes. These routes provided both a platform for performing the work and an invitation to others to join us on our creative journey. We shared this work via public-facing walking workshops as part of Liberty Festival in the summer of 2022. Below is a selection of videographic outputs designed to translate the experience of the walks beyond the spacetime of the festival event. 

Local Senses at Liberty Festival Lewisham, July 2022. Documentation of Public Walks for Liberty Festival and London Borough of Culture, Lewisham 2022.  Directed by Nathan Bather (Local Senses). 

/Local/Senses//Churchyard///// An audio-visual text walk. Made as part of London Borough of Culture 2022. Directed by Benjamin Jenner (Local Senses).

/LOCAL/SENSES//CHURCHYARD///// is one of eight digital videos, made in response to LOCAL SENSES’ participation in Liberty Festival 2022, Deptford, London.

The video focuses on the words deployed by the group as they respond to the environment beyond the visual. This focus does not seek to make a narrative of this process but rather to hold open the moment of encounter between the group and the environment. As a result, many subtitles appear on screen at once making a conventional reading difficult to achieve. This encourages instead a type of reading that is more like listening, and a type of listening more attuned to the plurality of voices at play. The video also includes the voice of the speech-to-text translation service employed to generate the subtitles (rendered in green), complicating the embodied environment with the environment of translation and reproduction. 

Research and Development is integral to our creative process. Below are some examples of how we develop our work together.

In January 2022, the group presented the development of their research for Liberty Festival at a sharing event hosted by the Albany Theater, Deptford.

The following invitation was written by LOCAL SENSES for that event: 

"Tonight, LOCAL SENSES welcomes you to join them on a psychogeographic journey of Lewisham. Via ulterior sensory phenomena the collective will enter your mind and motivate your body in a bid to inspire you to communicate with the local environment beyond the visual. To succeed in this audacious act, they ask you to join them in a period of meditation where you will be led through the local streets towards the water of Deptford Creek. On returning to the room there will be a chance to compose a collection of Haikus and handle locally inspired talismanic forms before heading out to explore the local terrain for yourself. Here, you will join a short walk with musical accompaniment, navigating the area between the Albany and Deptford station. As we walk, we will stop and reflect on the ways in which the environment is shaped by sounds and smells and how this sited information can be captured in language. We will also speculate on the power of the terrain to lead both mind and body beyond themselves, as we move towards previous experiences held in different places and other times. 

We look forward to welcoming you on this journey with us."

Below is a range of poses developed through the R&D in response to the sensory stimuli at stopping points on the routes. 

In response to the poses and sensory reflections the collective produced a collection of poetry, a selection of which is available below. The poems were recited by group members as part of the public facing walks for Liberty Festival 2022. 

A further selection of poems are available under the drop down menu at the top of the page.

Local Senses: Mapping in Lewisham 2021. Documentation of the collective's R&D process for Liberty Festival 2022. The film was showcased as part of the festival's pitch to creative partners in January 2021. Directed by Nathan Bather (Local Senses).