The Research Story (a sample of the Results)
(please not the images are currently unavailable – to be updated soon)
The following themes emerged through the analysis; resulting findings are presented through extracts of intra-subjective dialogue, photographs of the everyday objects and images of the art-process alongside the researcher’s interpretation, in engagement with theoretical discussion.
- Self and the Everyday Object: Entangled Becoming
Water as the object: A Fluid Self
- Materiality-discourse (possible matter-realities)
- Intra-subjective(s) folding: enlivening (Memory)
- Differences (resonance and exclusions) matter
Figure C: The Objects – Workshop 1: The Dining Table through the Camera. Workshop 2: The Apple. Workshop 3: The Cup. Workshop 4: The Fork. Workshop 5: The Buddhist Prayer Beads. Workshop 6: The Glass Water- bottle. Workshop 7: The Water-bottle and Phone. Workshop 8: The Notebook
1. Self and the Everyday Object: EntangledBecoming
In Extract 1, Frieda troubles her notions of self-other, recognising her entanglement with the object in line 148, she explores her relationship with her everyday prayer practice:
Extract 1: Entangled self-object in intra-action
150- Frieda: 152
making it part of me >I think<
>or something like that< (2) is it to do with possession? (1) it’s interesting isn’t it (1) that it comes alive only when I’m holding it ((soft sound of beads rubbing within her hands))
Frieda troubles her notions held within the use of her prayer beads which lend (‘come alive’) to self in the process of being in the world. In line 151-152, Frieda softly moves the beads (shown in Figure 3) within her hands: a sensate questioning as if asking what you mean to me, how does this work, enlivening a material-discursive engagement. The performative use of the beads (the external other) opens to the different agencies in/between the rhythms of self and other through use within her lived bodily experience. Moving the tangled self-other enlivens a process of knowing bodies; the sensate-knowledge of the other unfolds through self in the moment. Self is located within and inbetween the embodied sensate experience of the material-other engaged in specific, local purpose of prayer.
Figure 1: Frieda holding her Nichiren Diashonin Buddhist Prayer Beads (image)
The local situation of the object acts to stabilise the nature-culture of shared experience and integration of different rhythms in our everyday lives. Illustratively, in Figure 1, Extract 1, the prayer beads constitute a marker in a daily rhythm, fostered by the material-discursive entanglement of self-other in prayer. The object endures in relationship and so, this durational sense of becoming with (the) other is brought into a knowing of self. Thus self is located in the movement of unfolding material bodies.
In Figure 2, Susan uses a camera to capture her dining room table and through Extract 2, locates herself through the experience of the past in the present: memory which is stabilised in relationship with the object(s) solidarity.
Figure 2: Susan, performing self through the dining table, through the camera (Image)
In Extract 2, Susan describes the material security which stabilises a sense of knowing home (seen in Figure 2): physical resonances entangle with emotional life and instantiate the experience of security, in relationship and in the context of having a family. The entanglement of meaning and matter extends across time and place.
Extract 2: The physical mattering of objects and emotion, markers for memory
40 Susan: so the camera includes the photograph (.) actually the camera has got photographs of (.) fffff lots and lots of different memories but so’s that dining table got lots of different memories literally scored into it in places ((laughs))
212 Susan: oh yes yes there’s a security about it there’s very much a physical solidity about it but there’s also a it it is very much home which to me is important
Through practical use, objects instantiate the experience of movement, a relative stillness, within different experiences of intersecting rhythms of everyday life. In Extract 2, memory is held in the camera in the form of still images. The table however, lends itself to being marked or ‘scored’ and so holds memory in place. Self-other relationships are physically and emotionally entangled through the durational stability created in intra-action: one held by the other. Resonating agencies co-mingle the past within the present. Memory is therein an unfolding of different agential forces in the moment. The different resonances we experience entangle within felt-sense (Deleuze, 2004), a durational (Bergson, 1965) becoming: through our bodies we know the past, present and make actions which matter through the material-discourses available in intra-action with others. Experience and therein memory is differently co-constituted by different objects: each pertains to a different use in different contexts and therein entangles differently within the experience of self and others.
Illustratively, the camera, light and moveable, instantiates a selective and multiple positioning of self in relationship to others whereas the dining table is large, heavy, wooden, still, it grounds and structures movement around the room and with one another. Susan conveys an identity formed around the importance of home, conferred by the central positioning of the dining table in Figure 2. The practice of using a camera entangles the human with the technological (a posthumanist techno-human practice after Haraway & Proctor, 1998): in looking through the camera lens, exclusions are made, delineated by the inherent possibilities of the object.
The lens of the camera mediates different perspectives and positions in capturing agency: moving to hold still, to instil the precious moment and record it in place on screen, and/or when still or moving around the table in and amongst different daily practices. Inclusion and/or exclusion instantiate structures, or possibilities for remembering: enlivening the past in the present. The two objects therein confer different opportunities to self and through a mediation of multiple others materially instate different possibilities for inclusion and exclusion, allowing Susan to dialogically unpack self and other through the object.
The visible aspects of the object entangle with how they are used and so intra-action or memory may be understood as performative forms of attachments (Middleton & Brown, 2005). In Extract 3, Figure 3: the dead phone is bound up with daily life, even in its functional uselessness (‘I have to bring it even if I’m not touching it’). The lack of interaction signifies a displacement of self through the object, seen and yet not seen nevertheless still contributing to the experience of self.
Displacement and attachment with objects is an unfolding of bodily relationship(s) (Middleton & Brown, 2005) which co-form memory, a performance of self into being through resonances within sensate engagement. Embodied memory is comprised of a multitude of different effects which matter in a moment (e.g.: Extract 1). The camera and dining table illustrate how different embodied positions available to us are underpinned by movement possibilities and therein opportunities to experience ourselves in the world. Relevance of inclusion/exclusion signifies the importance of stewardship of the past with(in) present, (in)between human and non-human agencies through memory. Positioning memory, or relationships, as a stewardship does not fix responsibility, rather conveys the entanglement of self-other and a multiplicity of opportunities for relationships as a social realm in which difference is negotiated (Barad, 2007). So responsibilities towards the enlivening of memory, for creating non-excluding practices, are entangled with the recognition of self within the other. Intra-action locates self through movement (Butler, 2005; Allegranti, 2013) a reverberation or resonance of self with/in and in/between intra- subjective being (Bachelard, 1994: xvi–xxvii).
The entangled material-discursive realities co-created with objects extend the responsibilities of the individual to the level of socio-cultural and to the land (Makiguchi, 1923). Locating the effects of practical use in local phenomena situates and de-centres self with respect to non-human others. It can be seen that intra-action blurs the apparent given-ness of a distinct materiality from the discursive, and therein the separating lines of human/non-human, nature/culture, self/other. Objects therein matter our lives, differently delineating performative boundaries for self-other experiences, supporting Haraway’s (2991) explication of the instability of boundaries. To explore this further, understanding of how an embodied knowledge of difference, a critical awareness of the other from within, marks the objects as having different effects within experience. This speaks to unfolding potential opportunities for knowing ourselves and others people, objects: the agencies through which we negotiate our everyday(s) within-without.
The details illustrate the water-based phenomenon experienced, shifting the orientation of the study to an exploration grounded in moment-to-moment co-becoming.
2. Water as the Object: A Fluid Self
Materiality-discourse (possible matter-realities):
Within the art-process, the solidarity of material-discursive realities takes on a different form. In Extracts 6-7 the water(colour) destabilises expectations through the difference instantiated into the exploration by the fluid surface tensions available to sensate engagement (note the water marks in Figure 6).
Extract 6: Washing colours feels like oooh
373 Frieda: there is something about watercolour that I didn’t realise (.) but that the minute I started to wash it I thought oooh I like that
Extract 7: More fluidity
322 Danae: it’s that with the watercolour there’s more fluidity
This difference opens up possibilities for the sensate experience of
self-other, moving through embodied processes within (mind)body. The silences in Extracts 6-7, what Frieda ‘didn’t realise’ and the difference made by having ‘more fluidity’ is captured in Figure 6. The possible realities created through this direct engagement arise in- between the different fluid sensations held in the surface tensions created in/between self, the brush, the water and the paper. Illustratively, the blue lines, like moving wave formation(s), liquid drops on the embossed paper surface capture water in suspension. Non- linear water marks boundaries give a durational sense of being as a becoming. Self is caught up with/in noticing how pigment moves through the water, following intra-agential connections: a diffractive dispersal of green in shades of dark to light, to dark to light. The agential possibility afforded by the water is intimately bound up with self in the moment. A performance of self left in the paper, a material imprint, like the marks scored into the table (Figure 2), of a moment unfolded in time. This illustrates the disruptive nature of arts- process described by Yusoff et al., (2012). The significance of this is such that Art-process renders the invisible unfolding of material matters, visible; held in the moment in the space between self and other and left on the paper.
Figure 6: Detail from Danae’s work in workshop 4 (Image)
The material possibilities inherent in creative process are means to transform invisible internal dialogues and so mark or record the effects of a performative self (Butler, 1990). The potential of resonance, which therein demarcate the possibilities for self in becoming though this, what is taken into self, left external (self-other negotiations) enliven Haraway’s (1992) critical difference from within. This is therein explored through a mutually affecting autotelic process: just as in Extract 1 Figure 1 where the beads ‘come alive’ to self in use. The arts media, in this case water, moves self and self moves the water through iterative brushstrokes. Thus discursive practices matter the material and the material enfolds through resonance into the realities of our memories. Self is not pre-determined or defined, rather directly, co-constitutively, formed through material-discursive engagement in the world.
The intra-active enlivening of memory which presently enfolds both past and future possibilities is contextualised within a political-ethical consideration highlighted within Extract 8. Here, Grace talks about the demarcations of inclusion-exclusion that signify the importance of a sense of freedom, remembered through enjoying the art-process. The juxtaposition of the experience of containment versus safe boundaries enlivens memory of a child-like being in the world (Bhatti et al., 2009; Rautio, 2013).
Extract 8: Boundaries in/between the self-other and the freedom to be
very lovely (.) just lovely (.) yeah this is really really (5) it almost takes me back to being a bit of a child you know (.) you know (.) just sort of having free fun (. ) not (5)
mm the freedom to be
it’s just yeah the freedom to be without any kind of (1) uh what is it what (.) the thing of like those boundaries that (.) shut us down (….)yeah (.) as opposed to bo- boundaries that are for keeping us safe (.) there’s those boundaries that are about (.) containing (3) me or us you know
The self-other boundaries which Grace describes in lines 259-261, Extract 8, demarcate her experience in meeting and being met in the world. Positioning being as allowed, the expression and experience of ‘the freedom to be’, suggests a balance between self. Grace instantiates the crux of knowing through a discursive statements pertaining to the memory of the effects of othering practices: ‘the thing of like those boundaries that (.) shut us down’ (Serrent-Green, 2010; Johnson, 2004). The enjoyment Grace expresses through the art- process (note similar expression in Extracts 6-7) is hinged upon a childhood memory of having free fun, so establishes a functional statement of knowing the difference (Foucault, 1972). This difference is both known and becomes significant through engagement with the art-materials. The boundaries defined in relationship with the fluid-other are significant in enlivening within, a tension held: knowing the effects of ‘those boundaries that (.) shut us down … as opposed to’ positions self as excluded. Through this, being allowed to be and become through the formative experience(s) of agency, is positioned as consequential to adult process (Bennett, 2010; Rautio, 2013; Prout, 2011).
This extends out to political understanding of opportunity and (dis)ability (Allegranti, 2011) and furthers Bennett’s (2010) call to take seriously the things and actions in which all people experience the world. Additionally, supporting the work of Bhatti et al., (2009) and extends the claim that caring for self-others as critical context for non-excluding experience. Within excluding practice, self is disallowed and so self-other process is encumbered, limiting the possibilities for experience and opportunities to be and become as equally valued forces in the world. This further supports Berihun et al’s (2014) work showing the significant consequence that self-other relational process have in our being and becoming.
Intra-subjective folding: Enlivening memory
Successive intra-subjective discursive markers in Extract 9 illuminate how the material- discursive phenomenon through which self-other relational processes unfolds: working with the water evokes a seeking curiosity:
Extract 9: Moving self-other through water boundaries, sensate knowing and making difference(s)
>yeah< (4) I love that (.) the way water does its own thing?
like even though I’ve kind of made that movement with the brush?
it’s still like (.) it’s dead somewhere and like (.) as= with each stroke it- like it’s changing you know (.) like each stroke is not the same
The relative (in)stability of water, a moving transparent material(other) lends to the experience of becoming through processes of knowing self through other and therein the critical boundaries of difference, from within (Haraway, 1992). Extract 9 marks the intra- subjective tensions which matter this unfolding: ‘(….) the way water does its own thing?’ line 456, sets up a question and a statement, a premise for knowing the object-other (Butler, 2005). Noticing how the water moves in a way, in body, different to self, bound to the properties of the substance and the nature of its connections with/in the world. This questioning observation engenders a process of stabilisation-destabilisation: the pair attune to the phenomena, intra-subjectively unsettling it through intra-action, engaging with it to know more. The engagement explores the nature of an entanglement: successive statements flow from points of stabilised knowing, of otherness, to a position of unknowing. In line 458 there is a sense of knowing the parameters of effect that self has on water displacement: the awareness of a critical difference from within creates moving boundaries for meeting and being met by the world. Kora destabilises this further, holding a tension between knowing and seeking, noticing the effects made through iterative brushstrokes. Her curiosity moves self-other bringing about a position of unknowing through the sensate possibilities inherent in being-with water.
Holding a position of unknowing opens a space for explorative being-with other which troubles fixed notions of self-other, what is me and what is you. In line 459 Kora expresses an observation of knowing otherness within the water: her use of the word ‘still’ ascribes to something known, yet relatively (un)moving with which she is caught-up. The quality of ‘it’, a thing unnamed through which self is being located, here, is ‘dead somewhere’: the thing on the edge of knowing caught between the water and the brush. In the brief silence ‘(.)’
the body is positioned, holding the tensions between knowing and not-knowing this other, sensing something more to be gleaned from this indeterminate place of being. In sensing, the agency, self tangles with the other; enlivening a co-mingling of self-other through the body(mind). Troubling, disturbing: a not-knowing position engenders possibilities of enlivening others within, so enriching self.
Working in this way opens a potential space for processes of becoming; this is a place of flow: in/between fixed binary categories of habituation and novelty illustrating the fluid possibilities of identity formation. Flow is a diffractive unfolding of different material- discursive bodies, known through self (Barad, 2007; Rautio, 2013; Allegranti & Wyatt, 2014). We know difference inherently through direct sensate engagement with the world through our bodies. Exclusion criteria, the practice of stewarding self and other come to matter through the contingencies of meeting and being met. Becoming is then the unfolding of this material bodily knowing through intra-action: a re-mattering of self within the environment and extending without.
A tension, and therefore possible difficulties for self, is held between the known and unknown. The changing relationship of self-other is known through the embodied experience of difference, illustrated by the repetition of the discursive marker ‘like’ at the end of each sentence in Extract 9. This word acts as a discursive stabiliser in the process of knowing to unknowing to knowing, a culturally relevant social linguistic marker in the interaction, signifying the entanglement of two people and the art-materials in this becoming. The initial two like statements end with the word and the last leads with it. The change of placement in the word indicates a shifting emphasis of knowing. Moving the point of stability in relationship is as if on the rolling crest of a wave: a diffractive performative phenomenon. Self moves through the experience of knowing and unknowing, the material- others mediate this process which is held, stewarded in memory. This is emphasised by the completeness of the last sentence and how it incorporates the shifting process unfurling in the previous: a point of re-stabilisation in explorative process.
Through direct sensate intra-subjective experiences in the present, our material-discursive engagement(s) within the world enfold into our memory. Stewardship has consequence for how past and prospective events (effects) matter. Responsibilities therein take multiple forms, hinged upon the possible realities for self within the moment of meeting and being met by other(s). Relationships afford different and changing solidarities where the nature- culture of selfhood is entangled within intra-action.
Flowing out from the research material, it is critical for educational and political policy to recognise, acknowledge and respect the inherent possibilities of being and becoming for personhood (Allegranti, 2011). This instantiates a non-excluding practice heralding the onto- epistemological possibilities of embodied knowing.
Differences (resonance and exclusions) matter:
Extract 9 illustrates sensate embodied knowing, through the inherent difference in repetition (Deleuze, 2004) in each stroke: ‘as= with each stroke it- like it’s changing you know (.) like each stroke is not the same’. Figures 7-8 illustrate how material-discursive realities unfold through the act of painting:
Figures 7-8: Moving self-other through water boundaries, sensate knowing and making difference(s).
Figure 7: Workshop 5, Morgan Figure 8: Workshop 8, Ruth (Images)
Actions create visible effects, self-other is experienced in the heaviness or lightness of a brushstroke, overlays which blend and flow through colours and lines. In figure 8, Ruth has through repetition, created a rich velvety sense: a critical difference which is experienced within. Messy, non-linear water marks and gradated colour dispersals create a sense of depth in a mutual becoming. Repetitions, through a gradual build up of movements; enact a performative self in relationship. In this way, self moves other, iteratively working internally through the external.
Critical difference, inherent in repetition, enlivens within through felt resonant knowing of the other. In line 459 Kora notices the effects made in the moment of engaging with the material other: ‘with each stroke it- t- like it’s changing you know’. This illustrates non- representation and evidences a diffractive unfolding of self (Barad, 2007). The performance of becoming is a curiosity seeking to know and so unknowing unfolds in the process of being (Butler, 1990). In Extract 9, the statement of change in addition to the performative use of ‘as’ pulled into ‘with’ forms an active linguistic interlocutor dovetailing the iteration of self through watercolour. Change is seen in movements affected by our hands however is simultaneously demarcated within and between, inherently positioned as being with the other instead of doing to. Differences inherent in the repetition of movement (Deleuze, 2004), and ‘it’ this unnamed agential force through which action, moves belief. This small significant shift engenders a co-becoming, extending responsibility, illustrating how difference is critically felt within. In terms of meeting and being met, there is equilibrium: a constant moving balance between self and other.
In Extract 10, Susan really doesn’t want to make any art work. This important variation, emerging from the research process, reminds of the importance non-exclusive practices:
Extract 10: Musical alternatives
220 Susan: I tend not to I’m I’m not (….)I’m more likely to play a tune on it by rattling my fingernails on it (….) and turn turn a (….) make a physical noise out of it than ((taps in quick succession on the table with her finger tips)) (….) yeah yeah rather than a physical than than a (….) it would be musical art work (….) rather than ((three more taps on the table)) and it’s got it’s got a nice resonance to it when you tap it
Resonances, through intra-action can be found anywhere through direct engagement within the world: interdependent and interconnected; we find possibilities for our being and becoming (Barad, 2007).
Our bodies have the potential to flow in intra-action, holding both knowing and not- knowing. The process of being and becoming, if allowed, is in potential; open ended in nature. The process of doing-redoing, never the same self, in the midst of fluid, non-stable, non-linear bodies where knowing and unknowing unfolds. Bodies matter, through everything we encounter, ever in relationship (Allegranti, 2013).
As local constellations of becoming within the world, intra-action extends and transforms notions of others, highlighting our consequential, co-responsible connections (Allegranti, 2011). Self-other processes differently instantiate solidarity: a stewarding process at the level of the individual, socio-cultural and the land. Intra-action within each of these aspects entangles and extends both opportunities for engagement, for aesthetic-affective openness (Rautio, 2013) and also responsibility (Barad, 2007). We are intimately part of the world we seek to know (Barad, 2007).
Acknowledging being as synonymous with knowing, in light of the material-discursive realities that open up within intra-action, constitutes a significant shift for traditional Psychology. This articulates how complex and non-linear experiences arise in intra-action, troubling notions of fixed or finished self. This Exploration of critical differences within (Haraway, 1992) empirically evidences possibilities for non-excluding practice. A valuing approach, such as in exploration here, equalises and reduces dividing gaps without homogenising important and subtle differences inherent in life. This acknowledgement must necessarily interlocute with ethical practice within Educational, Social-care and Politics (Allegranti, 2011). This instantiates the relevance and need of a Critical Embodied Psychology of experience for future work (Brown et al., 2011) to go beyond the methodological approaches in traditional psychology (Reavey, 2011).
The current research project illustrates the possibilities inherent within Arts-process to disturb and disrupt expectations (Yusoff et al, 2012). Within this, the notion of stewardship would benefit from further investigation. Stewardship is positioned here as the material ground for memory through which relationships affect different solidarities, different materialisations in our lives. Having established the ground work for this in methodology and empirical findings, the current study now calls for further articulations of how entangled responsibilities engender an ethical politics which establish non-excluding practice (Allegranti, 2011). Illustratively within the context of othering practices (Serrent-Green, 2010), locating intra-active phenomena within specific settings (Johnson et al., 2004) would enrich understanding of the practices therein. Specifically, recognising the potential within an ethical-onto-epistemology for exploring how bodies matter through intra-active forces creates a valuing, non-excluding practice respecting critical differences within (Haraway, 1992; Barad, 2007). Supporting individuals to realise and acknowledge their interconnectedness through direct learning experiences has the potential to reform Education, Social-care and Political systems through compassionate change (Makiguchi, 1923; Rautio, 2013).
Embodied methodologies, demonstrated here, trouble notions of what constitutes evidence (Reavey, 2011). Therein Psychology is well positioned in bridging the conversation between the arts and sciences (Allegranti, 2013). Integrative conversations within the current study contribute significantly to forging a way through the difficulties of capturing and appropriately analyzing multi-sensory qualitative data. The analytic rigor within DA lends well to approaching surface tensions cross-textually. In combination with arts-process this contributes significantly to the field of non-representational understanding of being and becoming that Reavey (2011) appeals for. Challenges in this practice include addressing how the nature of research, as a process, impacts upon the researcher(s). This considers the practitioner in view of the nature of holding bodily the research material (Gendlin, 1969; Allegranti, 2013) raising the importance of opportunities to move, express and witness felt- responses to the data. This re-positions, simultaneously, perspectives on the research material, and engenders a fuller distillation of the research concerns. This practice also addresses the possibilities for expounding privileged, partial truths: by necessarily moving the researchers embodied positions, a fuller understanding is distilled. Implications for the use of embodied methodologies include othering practices as discussed and further to this, intra-subjective approaches to memory. Applying Critical Embodied methodologies cross- contextually has the potential to connect across fields and research concerns with huge benefit to all.