How bioacoustics help connect us to the natural world

A sunset over a beach

CWH Mexico City member Romina Cenisio explores the rise of digital nature and the power of forest bathing

By Landon Peoples   Photography by Romina Cenisio   Additional photography by Fabian Martinez

It would make perfect sense that, for the MySpace generation at least, most of our first encounters with ambient music might have been Enya or Imogen Heap. Think: music that (unbeknown to our younger selves at the time) was derivative of nature in ways that we might have understood visually – thanks to music videos and psychedelic Microsoft screensavers – yet not quite sonically. But now, as a consequence of the pandemic, people are seeking connections to nature in its raw form. Albeit, this might not be physically – with many borders still closed – but digitally, as bioacoustics and YouTube genres such as ‘country life’ offer the closest thing to the natural world we can get.

One such platform, Infinite Resort that was founded by CWH Mexico City member Romina Cenisio, is seeking to offer 360º experiences of the environment – from audio to visuals and back. The creative studio’s mission is to redefine how we interact with the outside world in order to forge deeper connections with the planet, and has created playlists, a virtual travel book, a short film, and more. For Cenisio, who transitioned from fashion to focus on intersectional environmentalism and sustainable travel, the healing powers of nature are unlimited. Why else, she asks, do some listen to the sounds of waves crashing ashore to fall asleep at night?

‘I worked in fashion for a very long time, actually,’ she says. Cenisio has designed for Alexander Wang, Hood By Air, and Nike, among others. ‘But in another life, I was studying to become a wildlife veterinarian. I knew I always wanted to do something with nature – or help it in some kind of way – and, unfortunately, that route didn’t work.’ Post-school, Cenisio moved out of the fashion industry and began to explore ways to reconnect with nature and turn it into a tool for healing.

A woman in stylish clothes sitting on a chair

Since launching Infinite Resort, Cenisio has delved even deeper into ideas such as forest bathing – the act of submerging yourself in the sounds and visuals of nature. She’s used study after study to inform her creative work and ensure that each experience is backed not just by the fundamentals of science, but the latest discoveries in nature, too.

‘It came about from nature’s ability to evolve on different frequencies,’ Cenisio explains of her reasoning for founding the digital platform. ‘If you cut down one tree, then all of the sounds of animals in that tree are gone and the rest of the ecosystem sort of falls out of lapse. Forest bathing, for instance, increases natural healing cells. So, if we’re so disconnected from nature at the moment, then I wondered how we could fix that.’

Though Cenisio affirms that there’s no substitute for nature itself, technology – which is widely understood to act as a barrier to nature, or merely getting outside – can be a connector to life beyond cities like New York and Los Angeles. ‘It’s really sound scenery. It should be just as normal as the way that we’ve normalised ourselves to yoga and meditation.’

Click here to listen to an ecotherapy audio experience that fuses science with sound, curated by Cenisio exclusively for Soho House – and watch this space for more commissions from Cenisio and Infinite Resort.

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