I get to Warm Springs at nightfall after a long 90-mile ride only to find out that there’s no camping or motel options in this town. My dynamo light was out of commission due to a front through-axle malfunction — so I was stuck here. After asking around at the gas station, someone told me of this spot by the Deschutes River a few miles away. Wondering how I’m going to get there without a front light, I look up at the sky and realize it’s bright with moonlight – just my luck, it was a full moon.
For this 5am planting, I set up near the river where I camped. The photo/audio is inspired by Natasha Myers and Ayelen Liberona’s Becoming Sensor, a project that investigates the ancient black oak savannas in Toronto’s High Park. Through video/sound art pieces, they strive to cultivate modes of attention, embodiment, and listening that shift one’s awareness to non-anthropocentric perspectives. In the project’s website they ask “What would change if you knew that the trees were watching you?”
Myers and Liberona utilize what they call “kinesthetic imaging” and “kinesthetic listening.” Kinesthetic imaging is an approach to photography where a photograph is generated in the act of “moving with and being moved by” one’s surroundings. The image highlights the dynamics of this relation between the photographer and the environment. It flips the common idea of a photo functioning as a way to capture a phenomenon – instead, the image shows that it is the photographer who is captured. Kinesthetic listening is the sonic equivalent whereby the recordist reveals their own subjectivity by “leaning into the sounds, amplifying their intensities, speeds, slownesses, and their affective charge.”
The moon is brilliant – it’s swaying in the same direction as the river’s flow. “What would change if I knew the moon was watching me?” Thanks, luna, for lighting the way!