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Embodied Fantasies: From Awe to Artifice

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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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1. Imagining Imagination

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What’s Imagining Got to Do with Images? C. S. MEIJNS A central feature of sensory imagination, and perhaps even a mark of thought generally, is captured in the catchphrase of “presence in absence”. When I im- agine a river, a river is what figures in my consciousness – a large quantity of greyish-blue, streaming water, with a bank of green vegetation on each side. I am aware of it, without being under the impression that there actually is a river in my vicinity. In fact, when I imagine the river Styx, I am not even under the impression that this mythical waterway actually exists. Regardless of such ab- sence or nonexistence, in all these cases a river is what I am conscious of. One might think that this feature of imagination demands explanation. When I confront a picture, say, the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the one pound coin, the person this picture depicts is somehow made present by the picture. I can see the Queen just by looking at the coin. Pictures make some- thing present, even when it is clear that the thing they depict is not actually around. The surface of the one pound coin gives a profile of her crowned head in a relief of lines and shapes, yet we would not want to say that the Queen of Great Britain is herself a witness of each inhabitant’s cash purchases. It is clear to us that pictures enable things to be presented to us in their...

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