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Word and image in the twenty-first century. Envoi

dualism that still commonly connects the computational to the disembodied, placeless and formless, by espousing a ‘materialisation’ of digital culture via a reconfiguration of bodily experience and materiality.40 In her ground-breaking book Materializing 207 208 Mixed messages New Media, Munster argues for the need to radically challenge the appraisal of digital culture as one that has been shaped by binary logic stemming from outdated (and misapprehended) Cartesian schema, proposing instead an idea of embodiment that is ‘both sensate and virtual’.41 Aiming to

in Mixed messages
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of the ether, it ends with a project for a space below ground, the Moscow Metro which opened in 1935, the most colossal Soviet public work.The final Chapter 6, “Golden calf, golden tooth,” explores the history of this immense structure, clad in expensive marble and illuminated by electrical lighting, altogether the embodiment of socialist modernity. The process of its construction was meant to transform its builders, peasants coming from all parts of the Soviet Union, into New Men – enlightened urbanites. These men and women were not only record-breaking workers

in Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man
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American correspondences in visual and verbal practices

Mixed Messages presents and interrogates ten distinct moments from the arts of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century America where visual and verbal forms blend and clash. Charting correspondences concerned with the expression and meaning of human experience, this volume moves beyond standard interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to consider the written and visual artwork in embodied, cognitive, and contextual terms. Offering a genuinely interdisciplinary contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, avant-garde studies, word-image relations, and literary studies, Mixed Messages takes in architecture, notebooks, poetry, painting, conceptual art, contemporary art, comic books, photographs and installations, ending with a speculative conclusion on the role of the body in the experience of digital mixed media. Each of the ten case studies explores the juxtaposition of visual and verbal forms in a manner that moves away from treating verbal and visual symbols as operating in binary or oppositional systems, and towards a consideration of mixed media, multi-media and intermedia work as brought together in acts of creation, exhibition, reading, viewing, and immersion. The collection advances research into embodiment theory, affect, pragmatist aesthetics, as well as into the continuing legacy of romanticism and of dada, conceptual art and surrealism in an American context.

The creation of Soviet culture in the 1920s and the 1930s was the most radical of modernist projects, both in aesthetic and in political terms. This book explores the architecture of this period as the nexus between aesthetics and politics. The invention of communist culture in the aftermath of the October Revolution was perhaps the most radical of modernist projects. The book demonstrates that the relationships between utopia and reality, idealism and pragmatism, between the will for progress and the will for tyranny, are complex and that they do not always play out in the same way. Case studies presented demonstrate the notion that Soviet architecture of the 1920s defined the New Man as primarily a worker. In contrast, during the 1930s the New Man was supposed to be an admirer of socialism in aesthetic terms, the total work of art created by the Communist Party. After an overview of the evolution of Soviet subjectivity, the book discusses transition from the productivist ethos to the representational ethos, which is epitomized in the public baths constructed around 1930 in Leningrad and Moscow. These structures were envisioned as both efficient machines for the production of cleanliness and microcosmic representations of the Soviet society. The book also presents a particular genre of socialist realism, the environmental expertise of obshchestvennitsy, or socially minded women. Finally, it explores the history of this immense structure, clad in expensive marble and illuminated by electrical lighting, altogether the embodiment of socialist modernity.

From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

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To fasten words again to visible – and invisible – things

’) with a hearty ‘self-reliance’.9 Perhaps the first to fully voice a national need to split from European traditions of Reason and Aesthetics, Emerson, as Martin Jay has noted, was a friend of the family of William James, the ‘father’ of American pragmatism and a psychologist whose theories of embodiment Introduction and mind–body integration appear to owe something to Emerson’s essays on ‘Nature’ (1836), ‘The American Scholar’ (1837) and ‘Experience’ (1844). Emerson’s drive to reunite the human with the divine through a profound connection to the natural

in Mixed messages
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those features relating to the growth and change in language use over time.27 On embodiment, also an issue neither Whitehead nor Wittgenstein is usually identified with, at least not to the extent that Merleau-Ponty and Polanyi are, Gill provides ample evidence of their deep concern with the role of the body in what we know of the world and how we experience it. In Whitehead’s case, he specifically and frequently refers to the ‘withness of the body’ in respect of the interrelations between human experience and reality. For example, regarding the immediacy of human

in The extended self

to the Black Panthers, the mythic being embodies the threatening image of black masculinity in the white American imagination.100 Two performances central to The Mythic Being make this embodiment clear. In The Mythic Being: Getting Back #2 (1975), Piper staged the mugging of a white man, a performative act that highlights the fear of the criminality erroneously attributed to black men. And in The Mythic Being: Cruising White Women (1975), Piper seemed to embody the predatory sexuality attributed to black men by staging the forbidden exchange of white women across

in Addressing the other woman
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types of artifacts share common characteristics as taxonomies, the latter are more consistently identified by their material and morphological characteristics than by their functions. Accordingly, eschewing any fixed relations between form and content, a new concept, the ‘technical meme,’ was proposed, based on the material embodiment or inscription of memes in artifacts and other culture-forms. It was further argued that the function and meaning of a technical meme could be induced or inferred, as suggested above, only from a series of exemplars in actual use over a

in The extended self
Pragmatic perspectives on Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm’s Poem-Paintings

tradition of an avant-garde that grew, in the words of Martin Jay, ‘impatient with the worship of art objects functioning as the embodiments of value in both the economic marketplace and canonical history of art’.50 Dewey’s theory of art as experience likewise connects the human body intelligently to the world around it via ‘doing and undergoing’. What Shusterman has termed Dewey’s ‘somatic naturalism’51 recognises the connective flow of human cognitive and physiological processes with the natural environment.  The  effect is exchange: ‘experiencing like breathing is a

in Mixed messages