A. Excerpts from the Enactive Interfaces project
1. “Enactive Interfaces are inspired by a fundamental concept
of “interaction” that has not been exploited by
other approaches to the design of human-computer interface
technologies. Mainly, interfaces have been designed to present
information via symbols, or icons.
In the symbolic approach, information is stored as words, mathematical
symbols or other symbolic systems, while in the iconic approach
information is stored in the form of visual images, such as diagrams
Enactive knowledge is neither symbolic nor iconic. It is direct, in the
sense that it is natural and intuitive, based on experience and the
perceptual consequences of motor acts.
Enactive knowledge is information gained through perception-action
interactions with the environment. Examples include information gained
by grasping an object, by hefting a stone, or by walking around an
obstacle that occludes our view. It is gained through intuitive
movements, of which we often are not aware. Enactive knowledge is
inherently multimodal, because motor actions alter the stimulation of
multiple perceptual systems. Enactive knowledge is essential in tasks
such as driving a car, dancing, playing a musical instrument, modelling
objects from clay, performing sports, and so on.”
2. “Enaction is a term coined in
psychology (J. Bruner) and used in a particular biological approach (F.
Varela), according to which cognition is fundamentally a feature of
living organisms in a dynamic adaptive relationship with their
environment. Only recently the term has gained widespread currency in
domains such as human-computer interaction. In the same kind of view,
the physicist Jean Petitot proposes the idea of a "Phenophysics", based
on the theory of "Morphogenesis" of the mathematician R. Thom,
according to which the necessary condition for categorization to occur,
is the presence of specific singularities in the dynamics of physical
sensorial events, on which categorization can get a grip. These
theories are used in signal processing, shape recognition and can be
used in extraction of emotive patterns in signals. Other related
concepts are presently developed also in relationship with artificial intelligence and robotics. The proper domain is that of the so-called embodied cognition, which gives much importance to action and perception in the definition and simulation of intelligent behaviors, by focusing the attention on parallel, distributed architectures, on adaptive behavior of different kinds (not only high order symbolic capacities) and on the possibilities offered by the dynamic systems modeling of behavior.”
"...cognition is not the representation of a pregiven world by a
pregiven mind but is rather the enactment of a world and a mind on the
basis of a history of the variety of actions that a being in the world
performs.”Varela, Thompson, Rosch. The Embodied Mind
“Enactive Interaction between human and world (including
humans and technologies) is seen as a process participating to :
Luciani. Scientific objectives of Enactive Network of
- the co-construction of the mind with the body
- the co-construction of the humans and the world. Mediated Artificial systems, called “Enactive
Interfaces”, which preserve this type of interaction, would
be favourable conditions
- to understand such complex processes
- to allow humans to produce and create in really
C. Relevant references
1. Varela F., Thompson E., Rosch E., The Embodied Mind:
Science and Human Experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,1991.
2. Gibson J.J., The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1979.
3. Gibson J.J., The senses considered as perceptual systems
.Boston, MA: Hougton Mifflin, 1966.
4. Turvey M. T., Shaw R. E., Reed E. S., Mace W. M., Ecological
laws of perceiving and acting: In reply to Fodor and Pylyshyn.
Cognition, 9, 237-304., 1981.
1. Warren W. H., Enactive
Knowledge: Sensory-motor expectancies or perception-action
invariants?. Invited talk at the Enactive / 06 Conference, Montpellier, November 2006.
2. CNRS Thematic School organised by ARCo (Association pour la Recherche Cognitive):
Constructivisme et Enaction : Un nouveau paradigme pour les
3. Havelange V., Lenay C., Stewart J., Les
représentations : mémoire externe et objets
techniques ». Intellectica, 35, 2003.
4. Hutchins E., Cultural cognition. In Cognition in
the wild (pp. 353-76). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995.
5. Hutchins E., Material anchors for conceptual
blends. Journal of pragmatics, 37, 2005.
6. Cadoz C. (2006), Retour au réel : le sens du
feedback, rétroaction-interaction-enaction. In
"Le feedback dans la création musicale,
rencontres musicales pluridisciplinaires". Available at
7. Luciani A., Enaction and Visual Arts : Toward dynamic
instrumental arts. In 2nd Conference on Enactive Interfaces, Genoa, Italy, 2005.