Notes on the act of imagination

An act of imagination involves a practiced encounter with a mystery. It’s an act of reaching out to catch an ingression of novelty—a new potential entered into actuality in the form of feelings and ideas that guide a greater understanding of the relations among things. 

These relations can be woven in some medium into well-made objects, processes, experiences, and behaviours. The threads of the braid are made up of the different materials of the medium and their patterning encodes the weave of interrelations in their forms and becomings.

In a sense we’re creating theories about the way the world works through the metaphorical language of a given medium—music, art, architecture, design, social relations, eco-systems. Some of these theories are re-imaginings of patterns already imagined, while others are novel imaginings.

A meaningful theory has ontological depth in the sense that the relations it encodes can be used to create instruments for the re-synthesis and generation of coherent and stable instances of the system it describes. It has meta-creative potential.

To the degree that an act of imagination includes those who act in the web of relations it describes, it has the potential to reveal truths about ourselves and an opportunity to change by bringing ourselves into greater harmony with the transpersonal systems the act of imagination reveals.


Kenneth Newby is a Canadian composer, musician, artist, scholar, and designer whose work involves the creation of music, animation, and performance by means of encoded artistic practices and the design of computational technologies as agents for intelligence amplification and design-space exploration.