A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

Coming from the world of outdoor and experiential learning and then the arts and the arts therapies, it seems clear that we think with our bodies as well as our brains. Dancers and climbers both do this. As do joiners and sculptors, painters and decorators and artists. Art as research or art a way of exploring and expressing personal experience connects directly to embodied cognition, but the output of exploration or research is art and experience. If we are seeking models for understanding art making experiences and or outdoor experiences, embodied cognition is a kind of conduit to shift ideas from one context to another.

A Sense of Direction – BBC Radio 4

Very interesting radio show, particularly for any outdoor educators. It explores animal and human ability to sense direction and evidence of magnetic sensitivity in the brains of animals and whether it is present in humans. Our brain can sense magnetic fields but this is reduced by radio signals. Whether this sensitivity allows some people to sense north is not yet proven. But anecdotal evidence suggests that they are but only in times of physical stress, ie when the cognitive function is compromised by fatigue or stress. This could be interesting to people doing extreme sports, or undergoing rigorous activity needing a sense of direction ie lost on an expedition. It also confirms that when lost we walk in circles.

The Spiritual Side of Performance – Hyperallergic

This goes with Rhirhi talking about unity below. The spirit does not care what colour you are, or what gender you are, or what religion you are. Art and performance have had an ancient connection to spirituality, with ritual playing a big part in creating unity. The Celts put precious objects in water to connect with the gods and most ancient artform has a connection to the spirit or to gods. Pat B Allen, creator of Open Studio Process, a form of art therapy talks about art as 'spritual technology.' Irving Lavin the renouned art historian says art is art history and as such is a 'natural science of the spirit.' What is interesting about this article is that this performance series has now developed a history, after, as Justin Hoover the curator observes, the energy of the performance harks back to the 60's. There is also reference to performative element in which the inclusion for performers is based on interest and not competence. This seems to be in the spirit of art as a form of personal research.