Enactive research: transversal possibilities for expanding the imaging of science.



the distinguishing characteristic of transdisciplinarity (versus inter-, multi, etc.) is “to deal with disciplinary fractures by deploying the logic of one theory/practice (approach) to work in the elaboration of another without reducing one to the other” (Nicolescu 1997, 2008) …


it would be productive to consider systems such as the “person” (a sub-set of human organism’s behaviours), artefacts such as images (art) and built-environments (architecture) as forms that result from the interference patterns between systems (organisms, objects and physical, social, cultural and historical environments).


in this paper, I will propose a notion of an expanded image as emergent forms arising from the interaction-interference of organisms and environments. This notion will impact upon the imaging of science by drawing connections between enactive theories of cognition (Stewart et al; Di Paolo; Thompson; and Varela) and imaging practices which purposefully working across disciplinary vantages.


theories of “enaction” foreground co-selective processes by emphasising the precariousness cultivated by self-organising systems, they serve as a useful corollary to experimental art practices that build upon affective experimentation (e.g. Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophical-aesthetic ‘clinic’). In support of my proposition for an expanded image, I will discuss two projects: Chalkdrummers bimanual drawing (Keane and Tosaki) and Bioscleave house (Arakawa and Gins). The aim is to outline a more inclusive notion of research in the arts that consciously re-enacts the interactions at work within the myriad scales of living in search of self–organising possibilities that traverse habituated modes of engagement.

The ad-vantage

of working across disciplinary vantage points is to find ways in which the arts may contribute to and inflect the trajectory of interference patterns (for example, the of plasticity of ”person” or the prompting power of the environment) through an experimental ethos and inclusive knowledge practices that might be called enactive research.



Dr Jondi Keane is an arts practitioner, critical thinker and Senior Lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne.

Over the last 27 years, he has exhibited and performed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. Recent creative projects include the art-science installations (Slought Foundation, Philadelphia 2008), collaborative installation-performances (JCCA, Brisbane 2008; Critical Path, Sydney 2009) collaborative drawing presentation (SEAM conference 2011, UTS drawing symposium 2012). He also produces research papers, workshops and creative projects through his collaborative practice with Associate Professor Pia Ednie-Brown called nonplus architexture. Dr. Keane has published on embodiment, experimental architecture and practice-led research in a range of peer review journals. He co-organized and international online conference on the work of Arakawa and Gins (March 2010 http://ag3.griffith.edu.au/) and will co-edit the proceedings in a special issue of Inflexions journal (forthcoming 2012). For more information see http://jondikeane.com/