Collection of (digital) somatic memory

somatic (adj) - of, relating to, or affecting the body

During this year of the pandemic, our bodies grow heavy with inertia and limited movement while our minds, nonetheless, traverse multiple cyber-geographies in the nooks and crannies of web interfaces or infinite streams of information.

In this parallel place, how are we embodied?

Here's a list of ways i get entangled with my devices and its digital spaces:

  • when i ctrl-c, i feel like i'm holding onto something, and i need to release them, let go of them. my hands are full!
  • when i open multiple apps, programs or browser tabs,
  • when my device's battery is low, i feel anxious and like i'm about to be depleted very soon

"… Been working hard on many exciting things but virtually all of them require staring into glowing rectangles for hours on end, sitting in one spot, brain churning but physically, stagnant—when the screen goes dark, the work is locked within, invisible. It feels like an ominous message for our time: ideas everywhere, endless networks—the feeling of progress, but where is it? Does energy expended in digital channels amount to as much as energy expended within physical manifestations—encounters, objects, printed books, gatherings? The invisibility of digital work—unless conjured by a power button, a search, a click, all made for personal, private consumption—feels like a vast void. It’s an interesting void that I love to prod at. But a void nonetheless." — Willa

My notes accrue as lite islands. This is akin to the digital garden "movement", and I have also came across similar metaphors that others use, characterising note-taking and gathering insights as a cartographic act. See this twitter thread. Serendipitously, I created this database in 2017/2016, but recently further inspired by the archepelegic regions of earthsea in Le Guin's books, and helps me to view studying in a more playful manner, which is very important to me. Viewing knowledge as lands to be discovered and re-discovered, to be mapped with different epistemic lens. I'll probably write more about this.

I realise that the more I tend to myself, plotting the cartographies and filling in information of my personal database, I notice physio-cognitive snapshots of particular moments of time. Especially when our bodies are mostly immobile, there is an energy build-up in cerebral activity.

For myself, I have recognised the need for movement in my daily life. No matter how interesting the information download I'm getting, it never quite hits the nail for some insatiable thing.


  • How am I feeling in this moment
  • How is my body reacting
  • What do I feel like doing
  • Make a meta-bookmark describing the physio-cognitive sensations you're feelin