AHSS Lunchtime Research Seminar - 'Rhythm, aesthetics, and sense making in human interaction' with Dr, Gill (UoCambridge)

Events — Talk Online
29 September 2021, 12:30

This talk explores the aesthetics and ethics of human sense-making and empathy in improvisation. Moving well with someone has an aesthetic and ethical quality, be it to shake hands, make music, or have a wonderful conversation. This foregrounds the relational qualities inherent in music, such as rhythm and pitch. It is proposed that in our everyday lives, the collective rhythms we perform have a pragmatic quality in that they can enable us to simultaneously comprehend and engage with our differences, in what the theorist and scientist Polanyi termed, ‘a personal act of knowing’ (Polanyi, 1966). Mutual sense-making may be said to be carried by this very fine timing / synchrony. A picture of pragmatic salient prosodic rhythms leading to climaxes (crescendos) of entrainment is considered akin to the ebbs and flows in Dewey’s social aesthetics (Dewey, 1934), and may be a way of considering how we are able to improvise whilst being together. Salient moments of bodily synchrony perhaps carry within them an intention to rebuild the connection even though it is mutually understood and desirable that a break of some kind is necessary for the connection to be sustained and to evolve, and such risky connection requires resilience (Foubert et al. 2020). What are the implications of this picture of human connection for our increasingly digitally mediated social futures?


Satinder Gill is based with the Centre for Music and Science (CMS), University of Cambridge, and is Managing Editor of the AI & Society Journal (Springer). Following her PhD at the University of Cambridge and research posts in Japan, Finland, USA and UK, including NTT (Japan), CKIR (Finland) and Stanford University (USA), her research with the CMS is investigating the pragmatics of rhythm and sense-making in speech, gesture, and music as a critical lens on the changing nature of presence and tacit engagement in face-to-face and technology mediated communication. She is Editor of 'Cognition, Communication, and Interaction’ (2007), Springer, and author of Tacit Engagement: Beyond Interaction (2015), Springer.

 We are looking forward to meeting you next Wednesday.

A hand raised in an audience.
A hand raised in an audience.

Event contact: jorg.fachner@aru.ac.uk

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