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Surrendering to The Now. Improvisation and an embodied approach to serendipity

Journal article
Authors Ariana Amacker
Published in Design Journal
Volume 22
Pages 1841-1851
ISSN 1460-6925
Publication year 2019
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
School of Design and Crafts
Pages 1841-1851
Language en
Keywords Embodied methods, improvisation, serendipity, Pragmatist philosophy, history, Art
Subject categories Aesthetics, Art History


In this paper I want to call attention to an embodied perspective and the ability to practice serendipity. I draw on Classical Pragmatist philosophy to offer insights for understanding serendipity in immediate experience and its significance for inquiry. In particular, John Dewey's view of aesthetic experience offers a starting point for developing an articulation of the embodied relation to inquiry from an artistic approach. Dewey proposed that being deeply engaged in inquiry requires not only acting in controlled ways upon the world but also undergoing or surrendering to experience. I use his view of surrender to characterize a receptive yet active state of awareness open to stimuli and the imaginative sensing of possibilities, new perceptions, and new meanings. To illustrate the subject, I draw on my training with movement improvisation and the approach of Surrendering to The Now.

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