Dear friend!

SemiDomesticated is back to delight your senses, and I’m so happy to have you here!

I hardly ever start out with a theme in mind, but approach this work like an archeologist of sorts, slowly brushing away the sand and dust to uncover what was there all along. The excavated skeleton is then fleshed out with content that helps support my overall vision. This time around, a Pioneer Story interview with food artist Pepe Dayaw from Nowhere Kitchen, and a Domestic Story with porcelain lighting designer Cordula Kafka, revealed a common thread — our senses.

Touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight; Our senses make up our world as we know it and help us understand our surroundings, but because our consciousness only allows us to perceive so little of what is really there, they are also greatly limiting. Multiple dimensions of our own realities are right at our fingertips, yet out of reach. Our reality is therefore merely a construct of our perception, interpreted through layers of cultural conditioning and personal experiences. Imagine how different our worlds would be if we had infrared vision, could smell pheromones kilometers away, navigate using echolocation or taste with twice the amount of tastebuds…

All though, many would argue that in our current day-to-day lives, a lack of sensory impressions is hardly the problem. Instead we struggle to unplug, to filter out, and to tune in. Ironically, our senses are often so overloaded with information that we forget to pause and just feel. Later this month, meditation teacher Eddie Vero will share some thoughts on this topic in a new written feature called Mindful Matters. 

Synesthesia, a condition often referred to as ‘seeing music’ or ‘tasting rainbows,’ is when the boundaries between the senses become blurred and form a synthesis. About four percent of the population are experiencing a constant state of Synesthesia, but the phenomenon is available to many through the use of psychedelic drugs. To a person with Synesthesia, a high C may taste like strawberries and a kiss from a lover could evoke the vision of a purple triangle. In this month’s Maker Story, we visit YINKANA founder Malú Lopez who has created her own form of sensory synthesis with her ‘visual perfume’ jewelry created to trigger olfactory memory.

Growing up with my sister Linda, who lost most of her hearing as a baby, I know from close experience, that the complete or partial loss of one or more of our senses isn’t necessarily detrimental. Our bodies are quite extraordinary, and to make up for a lost or weakened sense, our other senses will compensate by becoming heightened. My sister has an uncanny ability to pick up on nuances in body language and demeanor that are completely lost on the rest of us, making her an expert at reading people and situations. This months Mood Board, Senses & Sensibility is dedicated to the delicate language communicated through touch and body language.

A journey through our sensory landscape is not complete without food, and for that we have started another feature called Mindful Meals, where cooks and chefs with a healthy and thoughtful approach to cooking will share a recipe each month. Starting out is health coach and sports scientist Gianna Thiess, who also happens to be a passionate cook, recipe creator, and the featured chef of our first ‘The Good Supper’ event that we hosted in March.

Oh, and we also have sound covered. For that we have teamed up with Nina Legnehed, co-founder of Nordic by Nature, who will curate four Soundscapes for us this year, from some of the amazing artists she works with. The first one out, by Nina herself, is an electronic treat, sure to enchant your ears, and if it won’t give you visions of colors and shapes, it will definitely inspire you to dance — in your chair or at one of the many rooftop or garden parties you have planned this summer.

Another topic that is dear to me, and that I’ve become much more aware of in the last couple of years, is waste, or rather the incentive to produce less of it. Zero-waste blogger Susanne Neumer / Free of Waste will be a regular contributor on the site, sharing tips on how to be less trashy in all areas of our lives through our new Zero-Trash Talk feature. This month she’s taking us on a waste free shopping trip through the sensory overload that is the Turkish Market in Berlin. This feature may not be directly connected to one of our senses, but definitely appeals to our ‘sense’ of responsibility — to ourselves and this beautiful world we inhabit.

That’s it — a whole month of content laid out before you, and it’s sounding pretty sensational [no-pun-intended] if I may say so myself! While we aim to titillate and tantalize your senses every month from now on, this seemed like such a perfect backbone from where to (re-)start and keep building on. In the months to follow, we will continue to explore issues related to slow living, sustainable design and conscious consumerism, from various angles and viewpoints, so stay tuned and keep coming back!

With love & excitement, 
Anette

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Image Credits | [Featured image] Tabea Mathern [Collage] Vishal Marapon, Kevin Klein, Tabea Mathern & Marcus Jolly