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When and How Psychology Explains Images
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Cognitive Iconology is a new theory of the relation of psychology to art. Instead of being an application of psychological principles, it is a methodologically aware account of psychology, art and the nature of explanation. Rather than fight over biology or culture, it shows how they must fit together. The term “cognitive iconology” is meant to mirror other disciplines like cognitive poetics and musicology but the fear that images must be somehow transparent to understanding is calmed by the stratified approach to explanation that is outlined. In the book, cognitive iconology is a theory of cognitive tendencies that contribute to but are not determinative of an artistic meaning. At the center of the book are three case studies: images depicted within images, basic corrections to architectural renderings in images, and murals and paintings seen from the side. In all cases, there is a primitive perceptual pull that contribute to but do not override larger cultural meaning. The book then moves beyond the confines of the image to behavior around the image, and then ends with the concluding question of why some images are harder to understand than others. Cognitive Iconology promises to be important because it moves beyond the turf battles typically fought in image studies. It argues for a sustainable practice of interpretation that can live with other disciplines.
Corporeality: Emergent consciousness within its spatial dimensions develops our understanding of what we can experience through our bodies in relation to the space around us. Rather than considering architecture as being about manifestation and mediation of fixed meanings, the book focuses instead on architectural space as a field that envelopes us incessantly, intimately, and affectively. We are in immediate contact with that space, and the way we relate to it determines how we are able to grasp the realities of the social and material worlds around us.
This enquiry considers architectural space and its impact on and relation to us from a range of disciplines and perspectives, leading from space to sense and to sensibility. The theatre becomes a central point of reference on this journey, allowing us to understand how space “works” by linking concrete spatial conditions to corresponding “forms of experience”. It allows showing how the ways we feel, think, and act emerge from within the rich texture of the pre-conscious and non-contemplative. That texture is induced and nourished by our bodily encounters with space. Offering a view of how immediate experience is generated in the body, this book enhances empirical research into the links between space, body, experience and consciousness.
This book proposes a new approach to the problem of aesthetic experience in Western culture. Noting how art world phenomena evoke conventional psychoanalytic speculations about narcissism, the authors turn the tables and “apply” aesthetic questions and concerns to psychoanalytic theory. Experimenting with Freudian and post-Freudian concepts, they propose a non-normative theory of the psychic drive to address and embrace deep tensions in the post-Renaissance aesthetic project, the rise of modernism, and the contemporary art world. It is argued that these tensions reflect central conflicts in the development of patriarchal civilization, which the emergence of the aesthetic domain, as a specialized range of practice, exposes and subverts. The postmodern era of aesthetic reflection is interpreted as the outcome of a complex narcissistic dialectic of idealization and de-idealization that is significant for the understanding of contemporary culture and its historical prospects.
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Don Gifford in Zones of Re-membering shows clearly, thoughtfully, yet entertainingly how no one explanation will account for the depth and complexity of human experience and its grounding in Memory. Because consciousness is a function of Memory, “life without Memory is no life at all” as Alzheimer’s all too frequently demonstrates. Both our individual and collective Memory is stored in the arts, he contends, which in turn provide a way of knowing and of nourishing Memory and consciousness. Memory, like language, is never really stable or accurate but appears as narrative and these narratives collectively form our entire culture. For Gifford, the profoundest explorer of the human consciousness, time, and memory is James Joyce and in its range of reference, wit, and humanity the spirit of Joyce permeates this book.
This volume sheds twenty-first-century light on the charged interactions between memory, mourning and landscape. A century after Freud, our understanding of how memory and mourning function continues to be challenged, revised and refined. Increasingly, scholarly attention is paid to the role of situation in memorialising, whether in commemorations of individuals or in marking the mass deaths of late modern warfare and disasters. Memory, Mourning, Landscape offers the nuanced insights provided by interdisciplinarity in nine essays by leading and up-and-coming academics from the fields of history, museum studies, literature, anthropology, architecture, law, geography, theology and archaeology. The vital visual element is reinforced with an illustrated coda by a practising artist. The result is a unique symbiotic dialogue which will speak to scholars from a range of disciplines.
Investigations into the sources and methods of creativity
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Patterns of Creativity reflects on the implications of recent neuro-science findings, evolutionary theory and linguistics for ideas about creativity and the practice of creativity.
Kevin Brophy approaches questions of art and creation from-the-inside, that is as a poet himself. The conclusions about what it might mean to be a creative writer are counter-intuitive. What might it mean to understand the production of art as an evolutionary process with no endpoint and no goal? If consciousness is a minor player in decision-making and problem-solving as recent neuro-science findings suggest, how best might an artist manage conscious intentions while seeking to make original art?
Brophy argues that consciousness must be managed in new ways if creativity is to be sourced, that much of what we learn in education is learned without consciousness being involved, that a writer must read with a particular agenda, that writing is itself a particular kind of communication beyond speech, requiring specific skills. He argues that the metaphor is not merely a poetic device but is central to the way human thought proceeds and the way communication happens. It is the strange and surprising view-from-within informed by those views science offers to art that preoccupy these investigations.
Photographic Aesthetics, Temporality, Aging
Who isn’t seduced by the idea of an affinity between aging and aesthetics? Yet, when does aging truly begin? What attributes does the aesthetic embrace? Looking into startling photographic art of the past three decades, this book is prompted by such questions and turns them into a meditation on how aesthetics mediates our relation to time.
The photographic approach of the corporeal is at the center of the book. Within a phenomenological framework, Cristofovici brings into focus the physical and the psychic body to read aging as a process of change and becoming over time. Her understanding of aging sees beyond difference into larger patterns of perceptions that we share.
Offering valuable insights into aging as a process of subject construction, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of visual culture, photography, art history, age studies, and theories of knowledge. This cross-disciplinary study that puts theory to the test of life’s and art’s paradoxes in an evocative style will also appeal to a wider readership interested in how photography and aging illuminate each other.
The Space of Perception in the Modern World
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How space – mental, emotional, visual – is implicated in our constructions of reality and our art is the focus of this set of innovative essays. For the first time art theorists and historians, visual artists, literary critics and philosophers have come together to assay the problem of space both within conventional discipline boundaries and across them. What emerges is a stimulating discussion of the problem of embodied space and situated consciousness that will be of interest to the general reader as well as specialists working in the fields of art history and art practice, literature, philosophy and education.