Noise, the mess, and the inexhaustible world

In Basil Vassilicos, Fabio Pellizzer & Guiseppe Torre (eds.), The experience of noise. Macmillan (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This chapter outlines an embodied conception of noise. From an enactive and ecological perspective noise is an inevitable complement to the richness of bodily sensitivities and complex actions. The world around us, the universe, is replete, full of inexhaustible texture available to be explored at every scale at which we are capable, or can become capable, of making distinctions. Drawing on work in ecological psychology I suggest that noise is our experience of that encompassing fullness, and can be encountered in a number of different ways depending on the organisation of our bodies and activities at different scales across a given period. While that fullness can be overwhelming, and create challenges for us to distinguish and coordinate effectively with the particular aspects of the world most relevant to our present concerns - noise can be intrusive and disruptive - I argue that there are significant positive aspects to the phenomenon. Noise is an inherent part of the rich messiness of the world as discussed in recent enactive work, which provides both robustness to developmental processes as well as opportunities for action that support adaptive agency. In a noisy, messy world there are always more options available to explore.

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Marek McGann
MIC, Limerick

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