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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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Feeling and Cognition

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Feel the Feeling Media-Installations as Laboratories of Senses SABINE FLACH In 2004, in an interview titled “The image as anthropological phenomenon,” the art historian Hans Belting was asked the question: “Do you mean that experienc- ing an image is always a synesthetic experience?” To which he playfully gave the convincing and short answer: “Yes.”1 This simple yes is the basis and argument of the following reflections. I assume that the experience of an artistic work is fundamentally synesthetic and conse- quently, the basic assumption of my remarks is that in terms of image act theory as a Habitus in Habitat, this “Yes” clearly reveals one thing: the artwork is not experienced by the eye alone. It is always the entire body which perceives and is perceived. The self-awareness of the person who uses his body as a medium, allows him to react to the materiality or the immaterial materiality of images in a specific way, based on its physicality. It means that the question to ask: “What is an image?” cannot be answered from what is thought of the image alone, but first of all de- monstrate the compelling interdependency between the body that perceives an image, remembers an image, shows or produces it and the material image itself. This combination is more remarkable in installation spaces of contemporary art, which are more and more distant from the classical concept of image – as the traditional iconicity – and present us with sensations, light effects; visibilities which can be pictorial, but...

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