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Improvisers are interested in placing themselves in situations in which particular constraints of fellows and objects encourage the emergence of something new or inventive. Any given performance remains a dance of interagency about which not all can be known or anticipated. This chapter uses insight from neocybernetics and Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory to argue against methodological individualism, a representationalist cognitive paradigm, and conventional notions of communicative exchange. In their place it champions a performative and radically constructivist ontology in which individuals resonate with environmental information, and it elucidates notions such as system/environment structural coupling, openness from closure, and the dynamics of perturbation/compensation and coordinated selectivity as potent analytical alternatives. Finally, it argues that Emmanuel Levinas’s notion of intersubjectivity as lived immediacy, as a precognitive sensibility, can provide an ethical grounding for a vision of improvised music, and of the world, as a place of continuing interlinked performances.

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