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Habitus in Habitat III

Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics

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Edited By Joerg Fingerhut, Sabine Flach and Jan Söffner

A myriad of sensations inform and direct us when we engage with the environment. To understand their influence on the development of our habitus it is important to focus on unifying processes in sensing. This approach allows us to include phenomena that elude a rather narrow view that focuses on each of the five discrete senses in isolation. One of the central questions addressed in this volume is whether there is something like a sensual habitus, and if there is, how it can be defined. This is especially done by exploring the formation and habituation of the senses in and by a culturally shaped habitat. Two key concepts, Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics, are addressed as essential components for an understanding of the interface of habitat and the rich and multisensory experience of a perceiving subject.
At a Berlin-based conference Synaesthesia and Kinaesthetics, scholars from various disciplines gathered to discuss these issues. In bringing together the outcome of these discussions, this book gives new insights into the key phenomena of sensory integration and synaesthetic experiences, it enriches the perspectives on sensually embedded interaction and its habituation, and it expands this interdisciplinary inquiry to questions about the cultures of sensory habitus.

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Phenomenologies of Synaesthesia

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Embodied Experience CAROLINE A. JONES The turn to experience is a notable feature in contemporary art. There has been a sus- tained critique of 20th century modernism’s emphasis on forms (canonized in mid-century by “formalism” as a critical framework), and an intellectual and artistic targeting of visu- ality, opticality, and disembodied transcendence as problematic aspects of an older epis- teme. Contemporary biennial culture is one zone in which aesthetic experience has given way to an aesthetics of experience, and artistic strategies increasingly prize the embodi- ment and multi-sensory activation of the visitor. I will conclude by questioning to what extent this recent aesthetics of experience returns to a prior avant-garde’s infatuation with synaesthesia; speculating, on the one hand, about instrumental modalizations of the senses in late capitalism, and on the other, about radical sensory transfers accomplished in new media art. […] there can be no doubt that all our cognition begins with experience [Erfahrung]. For what else might rouse our cognitive power to its operation if objects stirring our senses did not do so? – Kant, 17901 The forming of the five senses is a labor of the entire history of the world down to the present. – Marx, 18442 Introduction My topic is embodied experience – what that might be taken to mean, which senses might be involved, and why it becomes an issue today.3 Already in his first critique, Kant was thinking hard about how sensory experience was the a 1 Kant: 2nd edition of Critique of Pure Reason, p. 43. 2...

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