Arts and Sciences

Today’s pressing environmental-ecological problems are highly complex, interconnected and non-linear phenomena. The general public urges the sciences to provide precise, rational and conclusive answers, yet unambiguous evidence for the causes and effects seem to be a mission impossible. The general public’s attitude for life is shaped by dystopian projections of the future and “gloom and doom” visions.

With Symbio(s)cene, we want to question the exclusive attention on rational solution strategies to address environmental-ecological problems. We want to focus on knowledge production and subsequent societal transformation based on approaches, methodologies and tools from art and design. We want to stir away from dystopic visions and misanthropic world views towards warm, positive visions of harmonious interactions between nature and humans.

The proposed transdisciplinary and holistic approach reunites the distinct cultures of arts and sciences once more, after a clear separation since the nineteenth century. Despite their different knowledge cultures, art and science have always been very closely linked due to their motivations and goals which are fundamentally the same: Trying to understand and to make sense of the world around us.

Our Methodology

Complex problem spaces and transdisciplinary settings create challenges that are hard to come by with traditional processes and working environments. The main idea underlying our methodology is that human abilities for cognitive processing are bounded and can be enhanced by using all our senses. We therefore apply the rich methodology of design thinking to foster co-creational processes.

Theories of embodied cognition suggest that cognitive processing and the ways knowledge is acquired are influenced by direct physical experiences of the entire body. The physical body is considered as an agent for knowledge generation and knowledge transfer. The Symbio(s)cene initiative proposes an innovative approach to knowledge exchange and sensemaking by introducing an Embodied Sensemaking methodology, which features an embodied way of knowing as a means to enhance art-science collaboration, interdisciplinary knowledge transfer and creative interdisciplinarity.

The Embodied Sensemaking approach builds on the notion of physical stimuli as agents for triggering new thinking and perspectives. It utilises generic trigger objects as physical metaphors and embodied agents, fostering engaged interactions between brain, body and the physical and social environment.

Embodied Sensemaking, Culturesphere, Ingrid Ruegemer, Oliver Szasz

Methodology Illustration © 2020 Culturesphere