Previous chapters articulated human experience of animated phenomena in terms of perception, action, interpretation, and imagination. Through bodily engagement in lively digital environments, people become aware of liveliness, build habits to interact with the medium transparently, feel at home in the environment, develop a sense of intimacy and pleasantness with it, make sense out of it, and are encouraged to imagine. They are also ready to explore further possibilities. With sophisticated habitual skills, they improvise with the environment, as all natural beings do in their habitat. Birds make use of found branches or leaves from surroundings to build their nests. A chameleon changes its skin colors to camouflage itself. A windsurfer knows how to make use of the wind and his or her weight to drive the board in a certain direction. As Daniel E. Koshland Jr writes in Science, improvisation with ‘environmental challenges’ is one of ‘the seven pillars of life’ (Koshland, 2002). Although Koshland’s improvisation refers to the kind of ‘slow’, long-term, and fundamental adaptation of a being in response to its habitat, which differs from the sense in which I use the term, that is an adaptive, ongoing co-performance between a user and a digital environment, both ideas entail unplanned, unexpected, and unfinished changes, that is, the contingent nature of life.
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- The Performer: We Improvise, We Create
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