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4Love and Science: Learning from spirals, noise, and resonance

June 7, 2023 Winter 2023

In 4LoveandScience, we unpack what science is all about, from a space of critical inquiry and possibility. How can we navigate the world with scientific methods that have been used by our ancestors? What can we learn from the patterns around us and how can we develop our own methods of discernment and inquiry so we’ll have the ability and power to navigate whatever situation emerges for us? We’ve been following these questions around throughout the spring. 

As a learning community, we thought about different ways of patterning, repeating phenomena that are present at all scales of the universe, and started to tune into these patterns. As a class, we fell in love with spirals that truly are everywhere, and found out what we can learn from them if we follow them around for a bit.

Through this class, we explored different stories of science and doing science otherwise. We went back in time to the origin of it all – only to complicate the idea of origins and found different universe stories. 

A slide of 4 Love and Science participant Aspen's project on the movement of the heart: A collage on a red background with text and pictures. The pictures are of pole dancing juxtaposed with pictures of the spiral nature of the structure of the heart with a reference to the shape of a snake contracting and a picture of a hand laying three fingers along the radial artery of a wrist to feel the shape of the pulse. The text reads: heart movement research, do our ideas of how our hearts move shape us? If the movements of our life force aren’t motivated by pressure ~ if the blood isn’t just a pump ~ it’s shape being a double helix, lending itself to a dynamic spiraling movement that inspires the blood, which is itself full of helical spins ~ how can this inspire our understanding of circulation? Blood: a guiding patterning life-force full of memory. Methodology: pole dancing and pulse diagnosis. What if we get to learn acoustics, resonance, and rhythm in full bodied ways with each other, how to flow and be deformed, how to spin, spin together, spiral and twist, vortex, how to return and be pulled, to feel into the shape of our beating hearts and the stories they tell.

We sifted through ways of creating identity by learning how the periodic table works, how systems of labeling and not-labeling are attempts to capture and name matter and identity. We learned about this way of sorting matter, and about how elements change in terms of pressure and time, how elements can go through profound processes of transformation and come back to a later form of themselves through radioactive decay. Sometimes, this change can be a very violent process. Other times, that can be gentle, too. We are looking out for the ways in which gentle change and generative change is possible and how we can repeat, deepen, and amplify this process of change by creating larger waves and echoes. 

Project on heart movement research by Aspen: “in-progress exploration of the movement, motivations, and memory of the cardiovascular system and how to listen to the stories held within the signature of the pulse. Themes: torsion, double-helices, Chinese medical theory, snakes, pulse-diagnosis, pole dancing, beating hearts, playful full-bodied methodologies.”

We thought about motion between polarities, about waves, and waviness, fluctuations, and contrasts. We reflected on different ways of bringing about change that are not rooted in exerting pressure and force but work with oscillation, motions of flow that are not binary, and how to amplify waves to ritualize these cycles. How can we move together in a swarm, a flock, a pack, and connect to the species and life forms around us? What can we learn if we bring the right kind of noise into our well-structured daily lives, learn how to sense different things when the water is muddy, and practice tuning into different frequencies? How can we build a practice where we learn how to work with what’s already there, build low-energy technologies and tune into the environment around us?

We thought about scale, how to tune into the scale to the lives around us and what kind of non-human forces come into the picture when we do. We worked with place-based practices and grounded our ways of doing science otherwise in the places we intimately know. We started with ways of thinking and ended with ways of teaching. In the end, our participants came up with their own methods and projects to teach their learnings to others.

4 Love and Science participant Dri shared their learning process in a slide. Text reads, "Ahead of my top surgery, I thought a lot about scale. I felt alone, and found solace in similar natural patterns." Three drawings are included, exploring electron capture and radioactive decay, autolysis and self-digestion, and the practice of filial slicing