[ISEA2020] Paper: Simon Penny — Embodied cognition, digital cultures and sensorimotor debility


Keywords: Embodied cognition, enactive cognition, material engagement, cognitivism, computationalism, mind-body dualism, embodied interaction, digital cultures, skill, sensorimotor debility

This paper reflects on the qualities of life in digital cultures, the design of digital technologies and the philosophical history that has informed that design. The paper takes as its critical perspective the field of embodied cognition as it has developed over the last three decades, in concert with emerging neurophysiology and neurocognitive research. From this perspective the paper considers cognitive, neurological and physiological effects that are becoming noticed in user populations.
This paper is informed by two decades of research into embodied cognition and its relationship with digital technologies and digital cultural practices – work that itself is grounded in two decades of R+D in technologies for embodied interaction.

  • Simon Penny (AU) is an interactive media artist, teacher and theorist. He has built custom interactive installations and robotic art since the mid 1980s. He explores – in both artistic and scholarly work – problems encountered when computational technologies and rhetorics are interfaced with cultural practices. His longstanding concern for embodied and situated aspects of aesthetic experience, along with a critical analysis of computer culture has led to a focus on what of he refers to as postcogntivist approaches to cognition – the focus of his book Making Sense: Cognition, Computing, Art and Embodiment (MIT press 2017). Director of A Body of Knowledge: Embodied Cognition and the Arts UCI 2016 and An Ocean of Knowledge: Pacific Seafaring, Sustainability and Cultural Survival at UCI in 2017. Founding director Arts Computation Engineering graduate program (2003-2012). Professor of Electronic Art and Design, professor of Music, professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, USA. simonpenny.net