Enactive model of aesthetic perception through rhythm and entrainment

Credits: Estrella Sánchez Gutiérrez, "Secrets and Whispers", 2018

What is ENAMARE?

Aesthetics, historically, has mainly dealt with art, beauty, and taste. However, now we are facing a much complex scenario. Practitioners of the enactive approach (a naturalistic and pragmatist framework encompassing philosophy and sciences), conceive general perception as a temporally extended process arising from dynamic interactions between agent and environment. For them, perception has an aesthetic component related to sense-making and bodily, cognitive, and emotional engagement. Therefore, aesthetics is acknowledged as vital to understand our relationship with the world, for every object, agent or event is to be capable of affording the activation of the aesthetic component of perception. This point of view leaves behind aporias derived of considering only artworks able to trigger aesthetic perception, neurocentrism, dualisms – e.g. mind-body; art-nature; internalism-externalism, and increasingly contested representational perception. Nonetheless, it demands a highly interdisciplinary effort.

To address this challenge, I have formulated in ENAMARE an innovative project to study the aesthetic constituent of general perception through the use of the enactive approach and conceptual tools from the dynamic systems theory (DST). The expected result is a functional model based on interactional loops between environmental and bodily rhythms mediated by processes of entrainment and their implication on processes of sense-making and engagement. Rhythm and entrainment are to be the cornerstones of the model because of them being ubiquitous, wellgrounded and related phenomena afforded by objects, agents, and events.

ENAMARE is a Horizons 2020 – MSCA that will lead to a better understanding on how environment affects us through rhythm and entrainment and its consequences. Fields as education, urbanism, or artificial intelligence will benefit from this research, for it will allow to continue to assess and anticipate reactions to teaching strategies, urban planning, or robotic interactions. This is coherent both with Horizon 2020 European policies which encourage research on Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) through Information & Modelling to extract knowledge from and to improve our understanding of complex systems, and with FET reports for the integration of Humanities with Science in Horizon 2020. Thus, it is an extremely timely opportunity to develop a novel, innovative and needed research on aesthetic as the one I propose.