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Can 'forest baths' cure our anxieties about the future? This artist thinks so

A person stands near a film projector.
Courtesy of Fereshteh Toosi
Fereshteh Toosi is a Miami-based interdisciplinary artist who recently launched an interactive audio project called “Voice Memos for the Future.” They are also a professor at Florida International University.

Think of a place that’s meaningful to you in South Florida.

For WLRN reporter Wilkine Brutus, that's Lake Worth Beach in Palm Beach County. He does a full-body early sunrise meditation and then a light exercise as shorebirds chirp in the sky.

"I reset my mind, giving thanks to all the things that I’m grateful for — family, friends, health," he shared from the host seat on WLRN Sundial. "Talking to myself and flirting with nature seems to temporarily ease my anxiety about societal issues that are stressing everyone out."

Fereshteh Toosi doesn’t just want you to think about the places that are meaningful to you. They want you to visit them.

In doing so, you might not only encounter peace and tranquility, but you might encounter a time capsule of messages directed to you.

Their augmented reality (AR) project called “Voice Memos for the Future” brings the sentiments and stories of South Florida residents to several nature parks in our area.

They reflect on the love they feel for these places they call home. And also, on their thoughts and anxieties about the future here.

You can find and listen to these audio time capsules through an app on your phone. It's one of the projects featured in this year's FilmGate Interactive Media Festival.

Fereshteh is an art professor at Florida International University.

It's not the first time they work with AR, audio and nature. They’ve also led local kayak outings for a water radio project.

On the Nov. 30 episode of Sundial, Fereshteh tells us how nature has inspired their life’s work.

On Sundial’s previous episode, we spoke with Chris Renois. He is a stand-up comedian and actor from South Florida. He recently starred in the indie film Mountains. It won a special award at the Tribeca Film Festival — and Chris’ acting is a big reason why.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple PodcastsStitcher and Spotify.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.