Other Sides of Cognition
Edited By Sabine Flach and Jan Söffner
This book sheds light on the other sides of cognition, on what they mean for forms and figurations of subjective, cultural and social understanding. In examining nuances, exceptions, changes, emotions and absence of emotions, automatized actions and meaningful relations, states of minds and states of bodies, the volume searches new approaches to these phenomena in discussing the relation between the habitus – the habits and behavioral attitudes involved in cognition – and its embeddedness in a habitat. By opening a dialogue between artistic knowledge and the sciences, Other Sides of Cognition investigates novel avenues and concepts within science and research.
At a Berlin-based conference: Other Sides of Cognition, scholars gathered from various disciplines to discuss these issues. This book broadens perspectives on the interdisciplinary field encompassing perception, action and epistemic formations. It offers a new view on the related field of habitus and cognition.
Attention and Boredom
We Were Never Being Boring Between Concentration and Inattention NICOLAS DE OLIVEIRA AND NICOLA OXLEY This text focuses on notions of disengagement, boredom and vacuity as strategies employed by artists and audiences. These ideas have become ubiquitous in con- temporary art. Informed by mass communication and telematics, today’s art competes with the rampant spread of technological innovation and the spatio- temporal shrinking of our environment. This is characterised by the rise of two interlinked phenomena: the special effect, a symptom of the spectacle, and the ability to ‘pay attention’. In a commodified culture, art is progressively construed as part of the enter- tainment industry. During the experience of a spectacle, the audience seesaws between utter captivity, when paying attention to an event, and dejection or bore- dom, when there is nothing to be seen. The spectacle, as the name suggests, relies largely on the scopic, and has, according to the American art historian Jonathan Crary, been a major driving force of culture for at least 150 years. It follows that sight must be located somewhere the audience can focus upon and, the narrower the field of scrutiny, the more absorbed we become. Contrariwise, the opening up of vision might suggest a loss of attention, and a gain in autonomous experience. Terms such as immersion and participation have become closely linked with current art practice, partly devised – it would appear – to draw the spectator into the work itself by way of a personal experience. Attention is then devolved from the object...
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