Urban Ecology: Exploring Grassroots Resilience through Citizen-led Sensing Practices concluded the second chapter of Timothy Nouzak’s current research project Transient relations: towards a transindividual embodied research dispositive, a reflection on systemic sustainability and intercultural exchange through the lens of social science and embodied cognition.

Supported by: Sense Gallery / 798 Art Zone, Yunhe Studio, Kerry Properties and Ecology and Cultures Lab, Tongji University Shanghai
Concept and Idea: Timothy Nouzak
Photo/ Documentation: Yunhe

The second chapter started with a two week Artist Studio Residency at Project Space „Sense Gallery” at 798 Art Zone, Beijing, where the focus was set on dealing with urban resilience processes through urban greening and land use conversions. The project aims to understand how urban resilience processes are formed, when citizens collectively strive to transform their local environment into greener areas. The work culminated in a research sharing with a newly formed working group engaged in urban greening initiatives, as well as the Ecology and Cultures Lab at Tongji University Shanghai, on the perspectives of socially engaged design processes, with an emphasis on embodied forms of grassroots decision-making and feedback culture.

Throughout the different settings, theories of situated and embodied cognition helps to foster relational processes of transformation across different research settings. Situated cognition, in particular, suggests that knowledge is inseparable from doing within social, cultural, and physical contexts, emphasizing experience-based learning contexts. In the second chapter Urban Ecology: Exploring Grassroots Resilience through Citizen-led Sensing Practices, this shift towards embodied and performative presences has led to a deepened understanding of how urban resilience processes are formed when citizens engage with urban greening and land use conversions collectively.

The research project's exchange with the working group began with an intimate dialogical research process, where they spent time with each other to understand their experiences and resources. This approach helped in subsequent methodical steps, where the working group analyzed and addressed these experiences with active embodied participation, using social design methods through listening and sensing practices. The focus was on the early phases of the working group formation, where uncertainty and the willingness for (re)invention remained high.  The working group is a practical learning journey initiative undertaken by locals to carefully create meaningful ventures, services, and ideas that efficiently and effectively combine greening resources to achieve desired outcomes and impacts in their local context. They remain open to further modulation and dialogue to create a sustainable and resilient urban ecosystem.

Transient relations: towards a transindividual embodied research dispositive as an overarching research frame focuses on developing socio-scientific and artistic practices that deal with sustainability and intercultural exchange within systemic processes through the lens of situated and embodied cognition. A dialogical relationship to the own and group body through practices of collective listening and sensing forms thereby the methodological core of the research. Simple collective performative acts such as stillness, looping or isolation signify and illuminate compositional forms of agency within systemic environmental processes, that help to formulate alternative embodied presences in movement, performance and daily life.

Special thanks to

© photo documentation by Yunhe