Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World
Edited By Zoltan Somhegyi and Max Ryynänen
19 Towards a Topology of Aesthetic Immersion (Harri Mäcklin)
AbstractWhat happens when I lose myself in an artwork? In common parlance, aesthetic immersion is often portrayed as a transportation into the work’s world: for example, while reading an engrossing novel, I am no longer in the place I physically inhabit but, at least in some sense, in the book’s fictive world. This view can be called the “travelling theory” of aesthetic immersion. But in what sense am I in the work’s world? Do I really go somewhere in and through aesthetic immersion?
In this chapter, I examine the experience of aesthetic immersion from the perspective of Martin Heidegger’s topological phenomenology. I argue that aesthetic immersion can be systematically described as a change in the perceiver’s mode of being-in-the-world. My main claim is that aesthetic immersion is not a matter of going into another world but of a reorientation of place-awareness altogether: in turning away from the lifeworld, which constitutes the there of my existence, towards the work’s world, which I can never inhabit, my awareness of space, time, meaning, and selfhood are fractured in ways that manifest themselves experientially as aesthetic immersion. I therefore argue that the experience of “going elsewhere” that characterises aesthetic immersion has a more complex phenomenological structure than what the travelling theory suggests. As such, this article points towards a need for a topological phenomenology of aesthetic immersion.
Keywords: aesthetic experience, immersion, phenomenology, place, topology, Martin Heidegger
It is not uncommon to hear claims...
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