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Designing Across Senses by John Alderman, Christine W. Park

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Chapter 5. Acting

MOVEMENT IS ONE OF the more complex acts of coordination between our senses, bodies, and intellect. Unlike many sculptors, Michelangelo carved in exquisite detail but left pieces deliberately unfinished. Partially complete, these works look like real human straining to be freed from a block of solid Carrera marble. Dancer Trisha Brown and basketball player Stephen Curry are sculptures in motion, pushing the envelopes of creative expression and athletic prowess (see Figure 5-1). And just how exactly do we get cereal in our mouths while reading the newspaper, not once looking down at the bowl or the spoon? Incredibly, we perform these types of physical feats with the least awareness. The saying goes that you never forget how to ride a bike. But it’s fair to say that you don’t consciously remember either.

A typically athletic (and aesthetic) performance by the Trisha Brown dance company (Set and Reset, 1996; photo by Chris Callis)
Figure 5-1. A typically athletic (and aesthetic) performance by the Trisha Brown dance company (Set and Reset, 1996; photo by Chris Callis)

Highly developed physical abilities bring the contrast between knowledge and awareness into high relief: we know how to do many activities very well, but we may not have the faintest awareness of how we know. “The best way to mess up your piano piece is to concentrate on your fingers; the best way to get out of breath is to think about your breathing; the best way to miss the golf ball is to analyze your swing.”1 Much of physical ...

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