Every motion is a gesture. You say this about rain in films by Ozu. A gesture’s meaning comes from the response it elicits. When you respond to a gesture, the meaning of your response is sent simultaneously to the preceding gesture and the gestures that come after. Everything we do is in dialogue with something else, but AI systems struggle to understand this outside a game of Go, where all the rules are set. So, I resort to asking my grade 8 drama students to close their eyes. Listen to the sounds around you, I say, think of all noises as gestures and respond to them with gestures of your own. But they don’t move. One breath after another, the classroom’s breathing becomes heavier and heavier; each breath, now a response to the one that came before, gives meaning to the ones that come after. An organism is formed.
Sheung-King, Aaron Tang is the author of You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked. He teaches creative writing at the University of Guelph.