Mindfulness and Embodiment in the Design of a Synthetic Experience
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How can the design of synthetic experiences and scientific visualizations establish aesthetically coherent spatiotemporal interactions that couple with the embodiment continuum already in place in the structures of the mind, the body, and the planetary environment in which we exist? The thesis addresses synthetic experiences in three areas: research on mind and the senses, designing sensorimotor embodiment, and the relevant notion of mindfulness as enaction practice. In real life we never have firsthand access to the experiences of others, or their feelings about their experiences, or ultimately who they are as people, but instead rely on simulations to explore what we cannot reach. Research points to the structural steps in which a shared synthetic experience takes place as a two way and multidirectional chain of pattern signals that traverse mind, body and environment. These patterns are supported by concepts of literacy and aesthetics which are further revised and specified to accommodate the enabling of the whole body in experiencing immersive real time representations that are coupled to what the human body can perceive and act upon. By understanding the affordances and thresholds of one’s point of sensing in space over time, structured by the body, embodied models or simulations can be externalized and reconfigured into external models, to position the body in worlds assembled from extended senses like telescopes, microscopes, sensors and detectors. Space and time can thus be tailored in terms of scale, resolution and pace, back into the human Umwelt, and explored individually or collectively as shared subjectivities. This is a practice informed thesis, based on work related to conceptual spaces I have developed from looking at how space and time are designed in panoramas, in film, though Virtual Reality (VR) and through scientific visualizations, specifically astronomy related ones, and the immersive interactives I created or contributed to at visualization laboratories and at planetariums. In working along with science, history, education, and culture experts I strived to look into perceptual concerns at extreme scales and what it means for us to go beyond our own sensory motor interactions.