ENAMARE is Horizons 2020 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action coordinated by Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (under Grant Agreement no. 79448) for the period between 1st June 2018 – 31st May 2020. The overall objective of this project is to study the aesthetic component of general perception in relation to sense-making and engagement using an enactive approach and Dynamic Systems Theory and other embodied approaches concepts to enhance interdisciplinary research on cognitive processes. More precisely:

The first specific objective is to elaborate a model on the functionality of the aesthetic component of perception based on reciprocal loops between environmental rhythms and bodily rhythms mediated by entrainment. In order to do this I will update the classical, yet still influential, concept of rhythm exposed by Dewey with recent research from philosophy and neuroscience both on rhythm and entrainment. I will relate these ideas with enactive approaches to sense-making and engagement processes and Dynamic Systems Theory concepts and general framework. That way, I will establish an integrated model able to address the aesthetic as a pervasive element of perception that conditions it in a distinct way from non-aesthetic perceptual episodes.

The second specific objective is to further the use of the enactive approach and the Dynamic Systems Theory, as a synergic interdisciplinary approach meant to address specific functional aspects related to cognition. I am to elaborate a refined and schematized version of the framework, glossary and methodologies developed for SO1. This will allow researchers to benefit from these tools and concepts to tackle diverse cognitive processes.

The expected outcomes of this project are:

  • Highlighted importance of the aesthetic component in everyday perception.
  • A specific model on rhythms and entrainment implication in sense-making and engagement processes.
  • Positive and negative implications of this pervasive conditioning exposed.
  • A general framework encompassing enactive ideas and DST concepts.

Who are we?

The Marie Curie fellow of this project is Dr. Carlos Vara Sánchez. His background combines a degree in Biology, an MsC in Neuroscience, and an MA and PhD in Humanities. He has been part of research groups both in Biology and in Humanities Departments. His doctoral thesis focused on the temporality afforded by Bill Viola video installations from an interdisciplinary point of view integrating classic philosophical approaches (Bergson, Husserl, Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty) and contemporary cognitive research.

The supervisor of this project is Prof. Roberta Dreon. She is Associate Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage of Venice University, Ca’ Foscari. In July 2017 she obtained the National Scientific Qualification as Full Professor (Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale). She is a leading researcher in pragmatist aesthetics especially John Dewey´s, phenomenological aesthetics, and other non-dualistic contemporary currents as evolutionary aesthetics. She has published over 60 papers and 4 monographs, including one in John Dewey’s aesthetics Out of the Ivory Tower. The Inclusive Aesthetics of John Dewey, Today (Marietti, 2012), recently published in France (Questions thèoriques, 2017). She is a member of the editorial and scientific boards of “Filosofia e Teologia”, “Ermeneutica letteraria”, “Venezia Arti” and she cooperates with the “European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy”. She has been part of projects on aesthetics, pragmatism, phenomenology, and on the topics of emotions and sensibility. In 2015, along with other members of her department and universities such as Roma Tre, she established a research group on Pragmatism and Wittgenstein. In the last years, she has supervised the dissertations of 27 students, some of them related to different contemporary perspectives on aesthetics.

The secondment of this project will take place in different European institutions:

The main contributor is University of Oslo’s RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion. The supervisor at this Centre is Prof Alexander Refsum Jensenius, a music researcher and research musician. His research focuses on why music makes us move, which he explores through empirical studies using different types of motion sensing technologies. He also uses the analytic knowledge and tools in the creation of new music, with both traditional and very untraditional instruments.

Another institution collaborating is University of Vienna’s EVAlab – Empirical Visual Aesthetics. The Centre, founded in 2004, directed by Prof Helmut Leder, holds a role in international leadership in psychological empirical art research with numerous important publications in the field of pioneering empirical approaches (physiology of art emotion, fluency and art , face beauty, museum studies, art and health, eye tracking) and theoretical modeling of aesthetic experience.