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Senses of Embodiment: Art, Technics, Media

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Edited By Mika Elo and Miika Luoto

This volume is a collection of essays that presents both theory- and practice-based approaches to questions concerning the embodiment of sense.
Exploring the opening of meaning in sensible configurations, the texts also address the medial structures – at once aesthetic, bodily and technical – that condition our access to whatever makes sense to us.
The texts show in various ways how these phenomena call for trans-disciplinary research, and how theoretical or philosophical questioning gains from the experimental possibilities of artistic research.
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The Touch of Mimesis: Esa Kirkkopelto

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The Touch of Mimesis

ESA KIRKKOPELTO

In this essay, I will consider touch as it becomes thematic in the performing arts. There, the means of imitation (mimesis) – and often also its object – is the acting and speaking human body.1 In the following, I will address mimesis as the process of imaging or resembling that takes place between entities, and in which the body or part of the body (not necessarily human) appears for another body as an image, so that the body creates a presentation for the other body. What I call here presentation (Darstellung) is the appearing of the event of representation (Vorstellung). Hence, I will not limit the sphere of mimesis to imaging or representation. Rather, I think that both aspects are there in mimetic phenomena, in mimetism. The object of my reflections will be the event of imaging or performing, not artistic presentation in general. I hope that an analysis of the former will be able to change our conception of the latter. By connecting the concept and the phenomenon of touch both intellectually and experientially to interaction between bodies, we bring the whole problematic together: how do mimesis, touch and the body articulate each other, and how do the performing arts function as the means of this articulation? My essay also takes the form of a comment on the ongoing discussion about the paradigmatic change of the status of touch, especially the dialogue between Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy around the millennium.2...

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