Charles Bernheimer described decadence as a "stimulant that bends thought out of shape, deforming traditional conceptual molds." In this posthumously published work, Bernheimer succeeds in making a critical concept out of this perennially fashionable, rarely understood term. Decadent Subjects is a coherent and moving picture of fin de siècle decadence. Mature, ironic, iconoclastic, and thoughtful, this remarkable collection of essays shows the contradictions of the phenomenon, which is both a condition and a state of mind. In seeking to (...) show why people have failed to give a satisfactory account of the term decadence, Bernheimer argues that we often mistakenly take decadence to represent something concrete, that we see as some sort of agent. His salutary response is to return to those authors and artists whose work constitutes the topos of decadence, rereading key late nineteenth-century authors such as Nietzsche, Zola, Hardy, Wilde, Moreau, and Freud to rediscover the very dynamics of the decadent. Through careful analysis of the literature, art, and music of the fin de siècle including a riveting discussion of the many faces of Salome, Bernheimer leaves us with a fascinating and multidimensional look at decadence, all the more important as we emerge from our own fin de siècle. (shrink)
A psychoanalytic psychology and art of unconscious emotion -- An inward turn : Vienna 1900 -- Exploring the truths hidden beneath the surface : origins of a scientific medicine -- Viennese artists, writers, and scientists meet in the Zuckerkandl Salon -- Exploring the brain beneath the skull : origins of a scientific psychiatry -- Exploring mind together with the brain : the development of a brain-based psychology -- Exploring mind apart from the brain : origins of a dynamic psychology -- (...) Searching for inner meaning in literature -- The depiction of modern women's sexuality in art -- The depiction of the psyche in art -- The fusion of eroticism, aggression, and anxiety in art -- A cognitive psychology of visual perception and emotional response to art -- Discovering the beholder's share -- Observation is also invention : the brain as a creativity machine -- The emergence of twentieth-century painting -- A biological science of the beholder's visual response to art -- The brain's processing of visual images -- Deconstruction of the visual image: the building blocks of form perception -- Reconstruction of the world we see : vision is information processing -- High-level vision and the brain's perception of face, hands, and body -- Top-down processing of information : using memory to find meaning -- The deconstruction of emotion : the search for emotional primitives -- The artistic depiction of emotion through the face, hands, body, and color -- Unconscious emotions, conscious feelings, and their bodily expression -- A biological science of the beholder's emotional response to art -- Top-down control of cognitive emotional information -- The biological response to beauty and ugliness in art -- The beholder's share : entering the private theater of another's mind -- The biology of the beholder's share : modeling other people's minds -- How the brain regulates emotion and empathy -- An evolving dialogue between visual art and science -- Artistic universals and the austrian expressionists -- The creative brain -- The cognitive unconscious and the creative brain -- Brain circuits for creativity -- Talent, creativity, and brain development -- Knowing ourselves : the new dialogue between art and science. (shrink)
Figuring Animals is a collection of fifteen essays concerning the representation of animals in literature, the visual arts, philosophy, and cultural practice. At the turn of the new century, it is helpful to reconsider our inherited understandings of the species, some of which are still useful to us. It is also important to look ahead to new understandings and new dialogue, which may contribute to the survival of us all. The contributors to this volume participate in this dialogue in a (...) variety of ways--through personal experience, natural history, cultural studies, philosophical inquiry, art history, literary analysis, film studies, and theoretical imagining, and through a combination of these trains of thought. The essays expose weaknesses in western epistemological frames of reference that for centuries have limited our views and, thus, our experiences of animal being, including our own. (shrink)
This article addresses the art of living in a technological culture as the active engagement with technomoral change. It argues that this engagement does not just take the form of overt deliberation. It shows in more modest ways as reflection-in-action, an experimental process in which new technology is fitted into existing practices. In this process challenged values are re-articulated in pragmatic solutions to the problem of working with new technology. This art of working with technology is also modest in the (...) sense that it is not oriented to shaping one’s own subjectivity in relation to technology. It emanates from human existence as relational and aims at securing good relationships. The argument will be developed in relation to a case study of the ways in which homecare workers engaged with the value of privacy, challenged by tele-monitoring technology that was newly introduced into their work. (shrink)
Paul Crowther, in his book, The Kantian Sublime (1989), works to reconstruct Kant's aesthetics in order to make its continued relevance to contemporary aesthetic concerns more visible. The present article remains within the area of Crowther's "cognitive" sublime, to show that there is much space for expanding upon Kantian varieties of the sublime, particularly in art.
Artists inspired by music and musicians -- Composers inspired by art and artists -- Twin talents : artist-musicians and musician-artists -- Musicians pose for the artists : a history of portrait iconography.
Nelson Goodman’s attempt to analyse the expressiveness of artworks in semantic terms has been widely criticised. In this paper I try to show how the use of an adapted version of his concept of exemplification, as proposed by Mark Textor, can help to alleviate the worst problems with his theory of expression. More particularly I argue that the recognition of an intention, which is central to Textor’s account of exemplification, is also fundamental to our understanding of expressiveness in art. Moreover (...) I propose that the recognition of this intention depends on our interpretation of the artwork – an insight Goodman tried to capture with his assertion that our attributions of expressive properties to artworks function metaphorically. The realisation of the context-dependence of our expressive judgements about art and, hence, of the central role interpretation plays in these judgements, I contend, counts in favour of theories of expression like Goodman’s that focus on semantic concerns. (shrink)
The paper reviews some of the links between the notion of “ultimate reality” and everyday life, mainly art, beauty, the creative processes in art, and citizenship. If, according to M. Heidegger, art reveals the truth of being , then we may find some historical descriptions of creative processes that are very close to descriptions of ultimate reality. Three examples of these kinds of descriptions are discussed . The final aim is to show how the interpretation of ultimate reality can contribute (...) to a better understanding of the creative process in art. These considerations can also throw light on one particular aspect of civil life—the relations between everyday life and its final goals. If we are to gain an understanding of the relations between ultimate reality, art and civil life, then the disciplines of aesthetics, philosophy, history and anthropology, and cultural history should all contribute together. (shrink)
“Else-where” is a synoptic survey of the representational values given to art, architecture, and cultural production from 2002 through 2011. Written primarily as a critique of what is suppressed in architecture and what is disclosed in art, the essays are informed by the passage out of post-structuralism and its disciplinary analogues toward the real Real . While architecture nominally addresses an environmental ethos, it also famously negotiates its own representational values by way of its putative autonomy ; its main repression (...) in this regard is “landscape,” figure of the Other and figure of the Real. Engaging forms of spectrality, and not necessarily speculative intelligence per se, architecture is also “conscious” of its own complicity in capitalist orders, a complicity that in part underwrites its avant-garde forms of agitation since the onset of modern architecture. As a result, and over the course of the twentieth century, architectural vanguards have successively been depleted such that they return only as reified half-measures in the late-modern production of difference. As such, the essay “Actually Existing Ground” examines the failed promise of Landscape Urbanism. Since the 1960s, as with the allied arts, architecture has evacuated many of the utopian gestures given to modernism and embraced a form of ultra-contingency in a direct alliance with the post-modern and post-Marxist concession to markets and to cultural production as principal means of establishing formal hegemony. This recourse or surrender to the economic-determinist ethos of post-modernity, regardless of attempts to problematize it and/or critique it through types of what Manfredo Tafuri has called “operative criticism” , has, arguably, all but failed, and with the suggestive return circa 2011 of new forms of resistance an exit from the accommodating spirit of the times is indicative of the expectation of strenuous, yet highly formal and non-discursive operations within artistic and architectural production. The essays collected in “Else-where” cross various disciplines, inclusive of landscape architecture, architecture, and visual art, to develop a nuanced critique of an emergent formal regard in the arts that is also an invocation of the highest coordinates given to the arts – formal ontology as speculative intelligence itself – or the return of the universal as utopian thought “here-and-now.”. (shrink)
This book is the first attempt to think philosophically about the comic phenomenon in literature, art, and life. Working across a substantial collection of comic works author Agnes Heller makes seminal observations on the comic in the work of both classical and contemporary figures. Whether she's discussing Shakespeare, Kafka, Rabelais, or the paintings of Brueghel and Daumier Heller's Immortal Comedy makes a characteristic contribution to modern thought across the humanities.
A significant impediment to the study of perceptual consciousness is our dependence on simplistic ideas about what experience is like. This is a point that has been made by Wittgenstein, and by philosophers working in the Phenomenological Tradition, such as Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. Importantly, it is an observation that has been brought to the fore in recent discussions of consciousness among philosophers and cognitive scientists who have come to feel the need for a more rigorous phenomenology of experience. The central (...) thought of this paper is that art can make a needed contribution to the study of perceptual consciousness. The work of some artists can teach us about perceptual consciousness by furnishing us with the opportunity to have a special kind of reflective experience. In this way, art can be a tool for phenomenological investigation. The paper focuses on the work of Richard Serra and offers a comparison of his work with that of Tony Smith. (shrink)
Issues about the nature and ontology of works of art play a central part in contemporary aesthetics. But such issues are complicated by the fact that there seem to be two fundamentally different kinds of artworks. First, a visual artwork such as a picture or drawing seems to be closely identified with a particular physical object, in that even an exact copy of it does not count as being genuinely the same work of art. Nelson Goodman describes such works as (...) being “autographic.” Second, other artworks such as musical or literary works seem to be copyable without any such limitations: for example, two identical copies of a novel could each equally be a genuine instance of that novel; such works are “allographic,” in Goodman’s terminology. Nevertheless, it seems clear enough that a deeper understanding of both kinds of artworks requires the pursuit of analogies or similarities between them, in spite of their differences. Any such analogies that may be found will provide critical tests for more general theories about the nature of artworks. I show how to resolve such analogies for the orientational concept of inversion. (shrink)
The theory of art in Asia.--Meister Eckhart's view of art.--Reactions to art in India.--Aesthetic of the Śukranītsāra.--Paroksa.--Ábhása.--Origin and use of images in India.--Notes.--Sanskrit glossary.--List of Chinese characters.--Bibliography (p. -245).
Beginning from Klee’s statement on truth in self-portraiture that his faces are truer than real ones and Cézanne’s promise to tell us the truth in painting, we consider the origins of truth in art for the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty. We discover that truth in perception, in life, and incarnate existence, as in art, originates from bodily movement. Similar to Heidegger’s argument in “The Origin of the Work of Art,” a truth happens between the work and painter, between the work and (...) viewer, and is not limited to the domain of language, but words and symbols mix together with colors and forms, as in the paintings of Klee. Similar to Husserl’s argument in “The Origin of Geometry,” the originary sense of art, like geometry, is an interweaving of world, intersubjectivity, speech, and writing that achieves a more “militant” truth than mere logical propositions. Truth is marked by its endurance, mobility, agility, subtlety, and depth. These interweavings mean there is no single origin of truth in art and life but a plurality of origins in movement, pleasures, and desires for the becoming of creation. (shrink)
Plato’s distinction between appearance and reality which he attempts to demonstrate in his allegory of the cave established the conceptual framework for theories of knowledge for many centuries. The quest for certainty set us on the path to believing that reality is there to be discovered. We only have to open our eyes and minds. Yet a recurring question about the interface between culturally acquired concepts and objective sense perception remains a point of contention. Mischa Kuball’s Platon’s Mirror addresses this (...) question. Kuball’s Platon’s Mirror exhibited at Artspace Sydney during September 2011 is an intriguing exploration of the various layers involved in the process of meaning. Light is the metaphor. Light is filtered through a variety of devices to reveal disparate aspects of the one apparent object. The easy distinction between appearance and reality is deliberately thrown into disarray. Kuball provides a meditation on the blurring of reality and meaning which suggests a recurrent philosophical theme in Kuball’s oeuvre, the nature of meaning and value. (shrink)
That form shall correspond to the content of a work is a law of realist art. Marxist-Leninist esthetics, on the basis of discovery of this law, does not prescribe an invented norm for the artist, but generalizes from the experience of art itself. Methodologically, it takes as its point of departure the dialectics of content and form. In so doing, Marxist-Leninist esthetics does not dissolve in philosophical concepts the distinctive features of content in art and the nature of form. It (...) examines the unity of content and form, and their development, in the context in which they manifest themselves specifically in art. In other words, it investigates the esthetic features of the relationship between content and form in art. (shrink)
This paper discusses how language games might facilitate a reimagining of learning conversations in art education, by comparing them with Socratic, Kantian and post-structuralist dialogical perspectives that inform group critique. It proposes that language games may facilitate the construction of more personal and layered modes of conversation, instead of prescribing processes intended to seek universal truths, authentic self-knowledge, or disruptive critical scepticism. It argues that they promote the recognition of all co-learners as people who come with their own valuable original (...) ideas and backgrounds. (shrink)
R. G. Collingwood thought that to express emotion is to come to understand it and that this is something art can enable us to do. The understanding in question is distinct from that offered by emotion concepts. I attempt to defend a broadly similar position by drawing, as Collingwood does, on a broader philosophy of mind. Emotions and other affective states have a profile analogous to the sensory profiles exhibited by the things we perceive. Grasping that one's feeling exhibits such (...) a profile is to understand it. That understanding differs from any involved in conceptualizing the affect in question. And, I argue, engagement with the expressive character of works of art is one way to gain it. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day, it has rarely been doubted that whenever formal aesthetic methods meet their iconological counterparts, the two approaches appear to be mutually exclusive. In reality, though, an ahistorical concept is challenging a historical analysis of art. It is especially Susanne K. Langer´s long-overlooked system of analogies between perceptions of the world and of artistic creations that are dependent on feelings which today allows a rapprochement of these positions. Krois’s insistence on (...) a similar point supports this analysis. - I - Unbestritten bis heute gilt, formwissenschaftliche und ikonologische Methoden scheinen sich grundsätzlich auszuschließen, da die ersteren auf ahistorischen und die letzteren auf historischen Grundlagen aufbauen. Dem entgegen soll mit diesem Beitrag gezeigt werden, wie insbesondere die Forschungen Susanne K. Langers und ergänzend diejenigen von John M. Krois eine Annäherung beider Positionen ermöglichen. (shrink)
Indeterminate art invokes a perceptual dilemma in which apparently detailed and vivid images resist identification. We used event-related fMRI to study visual perception of representational, indeterminate and abstract paintings. We hypothesized increased activation along a gradient of posterior-to-anterior ventral visual areas with increased object resolution, and postulated that object resolution would be associated with visual imagery. Behaviorally, subjects were faster to recognize familiar objects in representational than in both indeterminate and abstract paintings. We found activation within a distributed cortical network (...) that includes visual, parietal, limbic and prefrontal regions. Representational paintings, which depict scenes cluttered with familiar objects, evoked stronger activation than indeterminate and abstract paintings in higher-tier visual areas. Perception of scrambled paintings was associated with imagery-related activation in the precuneus and prefrontal cortex. Finally, representational paintings evoked stronger activation than indeterminate paintings in the temporoparietal junction. Our results suggest that perception of familiar content in art works is mediated by object recognition, memory recall and mental imagery, cognitive processes that evoke activation within a distributed cortical network. (shrink)
The author analyzes artistic symbolization as the process by which the artist creatively embodies metaphysical reality in the work of art and evokes a spiritual and emotional response in the recipient.