Invited Talk: Somaesthetics and its Implications for CHI
- Special Events
Abstract » Somaesthetics is an interdisciplinary research product devoted to the critical study and meliorative cultivation of the experience and use of the living body (or soma) as site of sensory appreciation (aesthesis) and creative self-stylization. An ameliorative discipline of both theory and practice, somaesthetics seeks to enrich not only our discursive knowledge of the body but also our lived somatic experience and performance; it aims to improve the meaning, understanding, efficacy, and beauty of our movements and of the environments to which our actions contribute and from which they also derive their energies and significance. To pursue these aims, somaesthetics is concerned with a wide diversity of knowledge forms and discourses, social practices and institutions, cultural traditions, values, and bodily disciplines that structure (or could improve) such somatic understanding and cultivation. As an interdisciplinary project that is not confined to one dominant academic field, professional vocabulary, cultural ideology, or particular set of bodily disciplines, somaesthetics aims to provide an overarching theoretical structure and a set of basic and versatile conceptual tools to enable a more fruitful interaction and integration of the very diverse forms of somatic knowledge currently being practiced and pursued. My talk at CHI will present the fundamental principles of the somaesthetic, examine some of its interdisciplinary impact and then explore its possible applications to the field of interactive design.
BIO: Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities at Florida Atlantic University, where he is also Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture: http://www.fau.edu/bodymindculture/. His primary research focus is the field of somaesthetics, which evolved in the late nineties from his work in pragmatist philosophy and aesthetics. Author of Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Shusterman has also written Surface and Depth (2002); Performing Live (2000); Practicing Philosophy (1997); Sous l’interprétation (1994), Soma-esthétique et architecture: une alternative critique (2010), and Pragmatist Aesthetics (1992, 2000, and translated into fourteen languages). Formerly chair of the Philosophy Department of Temple University (Philadelphia), he has held academic appointments in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, and Japan, and has been awarded research grants from the NEH, Fulbright, ACLS, Humboldt Foundation, and UNESCO. In 2008 the French government awarded him the rank of Chevalier in the Order of Academic Palms for his cultural contributions. His exploratory research in somaesthetics is informed by his professional practice as a somatic educator and therapist in the Feldenkrais Method.