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Embodied Fantasies: From Awe to Artifice


Edited By Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

Embodied Fantasies, a concept central to art history, theory and practice is concurrently a topic debated in the fields of the neuro- and cognitive sciences, philosophy and phenomenology.
This volume focuses on notions of embodiment as they relate to sexuality, aesthetics, epistemology, perception, and fantasy itself.
Approaches to modes of fantasies are explored beyond traditional conceptions to include complex thinking processes, subjectivity and inter-subjective experiences. What function do fantasies and their images possess in relation to art as a form of knowledge production?


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Introduction 7


Introduction Embodied fantasies, a concept central to art theory and practice, have again emerged as a salient topic in diverse fields outside of art’s domain; especially philosophy, psychology, medicine and neuro and cognitive sciences. The rela- tionships between embodiment, fantasy, the senses and emotions have become prominent in various discursive settings. It is striking, that all these fields of knowledge production are currently re- addressing fantasies beyond traditional conceptions of the ungraspable, but ad- ditionally, as a complex set of thinking processes. Apart from such classical philosophies as phenomenology, understood as intentional subjective relationships perceived between objects and environ- ments; fantasies under the auspices of embodiment theories, have become ger- mane for understanding multifarious processes of ‘inner worlds’. In doing so, theoretical reflections to clarify the status of such fantasies exercise a dominant role in understanding the intricacies of visual thinking and it’s conjunction with perception, emotions and the senses. I For Aristotle, phantasia is analogous to sensual perception and akin to sensual perception has its own, intrinsic judgment which can also be prone to decep- tion1. Such double-sidedness of fantasies, with their inner dichotomy oscillating between qualitative experience and cerebral judgment, can still dominate cur- rent discourse. If the hypothesis that thoughts are essentially motor processes, what would it mean for fantasy if such a proposition proves true? Would the embodiment of fantasy be comprehended as a kind of off-line sensor-motoring-process or other applicable versions of subliminal activity? For example: gesturing while speak- ing? Would its intrinsic nature be...

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