Advances in cognitive science are beginning to confirm the deep relational continuities that were once considered solely the domain of mystics, shamans, psychonauts and indigenous peoples. Specifically, the 4E Model of Cognition presents a compelling, naturalistic rationale for consciousness as embodied, embedded, enacted and extended. In this advanced workshop we will briefly explore these concepts as dynamic modalities of being.
photo by Joe Klementovich
Embodiment refers to how the mind coevolved with the body resulting in a body-mind. First we establish the mind-body holism via embodiment. Most participants will likely have some experience with embodiment. This practice is done as an individual experience with focus on self.
Embeddedness frames the body-mind as dynamically coupled to an environment that includes social, cultural contexts. We look at ourselves and each other as co-constituted organisms in order to establish the dynamical worldedness of our mind-body system. This practice is done in a circle with participants facing each other.
Extendedness highlights how mind-body (cognition) is distributed by tools, technologies, bodies and nonmaterial forces. We do this by focusing on the qualities of the liminal space. We become aware of the consequences of inflows and outflows of enacted consciousness. This practice is done in a circle with participants facing outward.
Enaction acknowledges how our actions are prompted by a mind-body tuned to the world. We do this by revealing the multiple layers of representational surface via reductio ad absurdum in order to temporarily evict the homunculus. This practice eventually blurs the boundary between subject and object to reach ontological continuity.
Blundell’s ecopoetic approach evolved from his work as a geologist, natural history guide and writer. The practice, which he calls Oika, simultaneously draws on scientific knowledge and the intimate, sometimes ineffable, phenomenologies of place. This in-situ, somatic, and intellectual practice contextualizes human experiences of non-duality with nature, and often, the cosmos. By physically and mentally traversing alternating states of embodied and distributed consciousness, Blundell willfully confuses our preconceptions of scientific and spiritual. The resulting spectrum of affects range from awe and joy, to urgency, dread and gratitude.
Learn more at https://oika.com/
Leduc’s artistic practice (which she will modify for participant engagement during the workshop) involves securing a wooden frame stretched with transparent acetate at selected sites within a habitat. She then engages in a push/pull experience with the environment by applying various art materials on and around the acetate. This dialogue activates the frame as a portal into a state of shared consciousness between herself and the outer world. The plein air work necessitates quick movement, enabling her to exchange criticality for whole-body intuition. Balancing awkwardly on a rock, in a bush, or in direct contact with a tree, Leduc is immersed in a boundless flow-state that is consequently infused into her art.
Learn more at https://www.ritaleduc.com/