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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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Being, Vision, Image: On Merleau-Ponty’s Eye and Mind: Miika Luoto

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Being, Vision, Image: On Merleau-Ponty’s Eye and Mind

MIIKA LUOTO

Eye and Mind, the very last text Maurice Merleau-Ponty published himself, attempts to develop an ontology of vision through reflections on visual arts, especially painting. In its ontological aspiration, it is closely connected to the philosophical project which occupied Merleau-Ponty during the last years of his life: the ontological reassessment of the results of his first major work, Phenomenology of Perception. This project remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1961, but the most important material left behind was published posthumously by Claude Lefort in 1964 as The Visible and the Invisible. From this fragment we learn that the general aim of the project, of which Eye and Mind is a part, was to investigate Being on the basis of the way we are opened to the visible world and thereby also investigate the nature of ideality.

While it develops an ontology of vision, Eye and Mind is also a philosophical reflection on painting. We should note, however, that painting constitutes less an object of theoretical study than an appropriate context which allows the philosopher to address basic questions of vision and Being. In this respect, Eye and Mind belongs to a series of writings in which Merleau-Ponty develops his thoughts in a kind of dialogue with visual arts: let us simply mention “Cézanne’s Doubt” and “Indirect Language and the Voices of Silence”.

How does the exploration of visual...

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