Edward Slopek - Bodies Of Art: The Shaping Of Aesthetic Experience
Over the course of the last two decades, a novel and innovative corporeal imagination has overtaken social theory, cultural studies, philosophy, psychology and the humanities. With sustained interdisciplinary attention being paid to human embodiment, current efforts to understand meaning-making have precipitated a reconceptualization of the lived body as a matrix of significance flourishing within the spatial, corporeal, and incarnate. This move continues to be driven by a desire to challenge the prevalent Western, and Cartesian, notion of the self as a discrete, interior consciousness constituted by brain states and processes located exclusively inside the head of the person, with priority being given to reason and language. In response, a non-Cartesian approach can take as its starting point the Spread Mind identity theory developed by Riccardo Manzotti which claims that the mind is not produced by or in the brain, but rather, the brain is formed and constantly modified by the mind, which is your embodied experience in the world.
Countering notions and concepts imported from the natural sciences, and drawing on the observations of the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, a distinction is made between the human body as a physical and biological entity with objective features (or Korper), including weight, height, etc., and the human body as an experienced or lived entity (or Leib). Going against the grain of the cerebral mystique, a neurocentric approach which idealizes and mythologizes the brain as an omnipotent structure wherein everything we think, do, and refrain from doing is restricted to what’s physically in your head, this book proposes an alternative approach to the study of movement, mind, and, in particular, aesthetics, called “Spread Body-Mind Aesthetics.”
Through an exploration of a host of ways of novel cinematic watching, such as The Centipede Cinema, The Floating Archipelago Cinema, Stan van der Beek’s Movie-Drome, and Lis Rhodes Light Music, this book introduces and develops the key conceptual features of “Spread Mind Aesthetics.” Defined in part as the study of the influence of body position and motion on perception and meaning-making in non-conventional cinematic viewing spaces, or performative architectures of reception, it is, in more technical terms, the study of the impact of the lived-body’s vestibular, somatosensory, and kinesthetic senses on our interpretations of actual and virtual media worlds. The specific concern here is how the orientation or positioning and heightened awareness of the lived-body (e.g., standing, reclining, sitting, walking, etc.) actively “figures in” our experience of these media spaces.
Softcover, 128 pages
120mm x 190mm
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