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Collective Creativity

Collaborative Work in the Sciences, Literature and the Arts

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Edited by Gerhard Fischer and Florian Vassen

Collective Creativity combines complex and ambivalent concepts. While ‘creativity’ is currently experiencing an inflationary boom in popularity, the term ‘collective’ appeared, until recently, rather controversial due to its ideological implications in twentieth-century politics. In a world defined by global cultural practice, the notion of collectivity has gained new relevance. This publication discusses a number of concepts of creativity and shows that, in opposition to the traditional ideal of the individual as creative genius, cultural theorists today emphasize the collaborative nature of creativity; they show that ‘creativity makes alterity, discontinuity and difference attractive’. Not the Romantic Originalgenie, but rather the agents of the ‘creative economy’ appear as the new avant-garde of aesthetic innovation: teams, groups and collectives in business and science, in art and digital media who work together in networking clusters to develop innovative products and processes.
In this book, scholars in the social sciences and in cultural and media studies, in literature, theatre and visual arts present for the first time a comprehensive, inter- and transdisciplinary account of collective creativity in its multifaceted applications. They investigate the intersections of artistic, scientific and cultural practice where the individual and the collective merge, come together or confront each other.

Theorizing Bruce Lee

Film-Fantasy-Fighting-Philosophy

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Paul Bowman

Theorizing Bruce Lee is a unique work, which uses cultural theory to analyse and assess Bruce Lee, and uses Bruce Lee to analyse and assess cultural theory. Lee is shown to be a major ‘event’ in both global film and global popular culture – a figure who’s central to many intercultural encounters, texts, and practices. Many key elements of film and cultural theory are employed to theorize Bruce Lee, and Lee is shown to be a complex – and consequential – multimedia, multidisciplinary and multicultural phenomenon. Theorizing Bruce Lee is essential reading for anyone interested in Bruce Lee in popular culture and as an object of academic study.

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Gregory Minissale

Framing Consciousness in Art shows how the frames-in-frames in these different contexts question notions of vision and representation, linear time, conventional spatial coordinates, binaries of ‘internal’ consciousness and ‘external’ world, subject and object, and the precise anatomy of mental states by which we are meant to carve up the territory of consciousness. The phenomenological experience of art is certainly as important as the folk psychology which scientists and philosophers use to taxonomise ordinary first-person modes of subjectivity. Yet art excels in configuring the visual field in order to articulate and sustain a complex network of higher-order thoughts structuring art and consciousness.

Touching Surfaces

Photographic Aesthetics, Temporality, Aging

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Anca Cristofovici

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.

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Daniel Barnett

This book offers sweeping and cogent arguments as to why analytic philosophers should take experimental cinema seriously as a medium for illuminating mechanisms of meaning in language. Using the analogy of the movie projector, Barnett deconstructs all communication acts into functions of interval, repetition and context. He describes how Wittgenstein’s concepts of family resemblance and language games provide a dynamic perspective on the analysis of acts of reference. He then develops a hyper-simplified formula of movement as meaning to discuss, with true equivalence, the process of reference as it occurs in natural language, technical language, poetic language, painting, photography, music, and of course, cinema. Barnett then applies his analytic technique to an original perspective on cine-poetics based on Paul Valery’s concept of omnivalence, and to a projection of how this style of analysis, derived from analog cinema, can help us clarify our view of the digital mediasphere and its relation to consciousness.
Informed by the philosophy of Quine, Dennett, Merleau-Ponty as well as the later work of Wittgenstein, among others, he uses the film work of Stan Brakhage, Tony Conrad, A.K. Dewdney, Nathaniel Dorsky, Ken Jacobs, Owen Land, Saul Levine, Gregory Markopoulos Michael Snow, and the poetry of Basho, John Cage, John Cayley and Paul Valery to illustrate the power of his unique perspective on meaning.

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Richard Elfyn Jones

The continuum of music—what is it, what does it do, how does it do it—has taxed countless philosophers over recorded time, and even the verb for what it does (express? arouse? evoke? symbolize? embody?) meets with no universal agreement. Not always is music admired: in the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet likens the skilled musician to an ineffectual preacher.
Richard Elfyn Jones brings new ideas to the conundrum by taking up certain philosophers not usually cited in connection with music, in particular Alfred North Whitehead and the classical Greek notion of process (as opposed to event), and thus of process theology. The book opens up an original approach to the transcendent and, to many, the sacred quality heard in music, drawing both upon authorities concerned with the numinous (that feeling of awe and attraction behind religious experience) and upon his own lifelong engagement with music as scholar, teacher and composer.
– Peter Williams, former Dean of Music, University of Edinburgh

Nature in Literary and Cultural Studies

Transatlantic Conversations on Ecocriticism

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Edited by Catrin Gersdorf and Sylvia Mayer

Nature in Literary and Cultural Studies is a collection of essays written by European and North American scholars who argue that nature and culture can no longer be thought of in oppositional, mutually exclusive terms. They are united in an effort to push the theoretical limits of ecocriticism towards a more rigorous investigation of nature’s critical potential as a concept that challenges modern culture’s philosophical assumptions, epistemological convictions, aesthetic principles, and ethical imperatives. This volume offers scholars and students of literature, culture, history, philosophy, and linguistics new insights into the ongoing transformation of ecocriticism into an innovative force in international and interdisciplinary literary and cultural studies.

Discern(e)ments

Deleuzian Aesthetics / Esthétiques deleuziennes

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Edited by Joost de Bloois, Sjef Houppermans and Frans-Willem Korsten

A bilingual collection of essays on the aesthetics of Gilles Deleuze, Discern(e)ments highlights what is at stake in Deleuzian philosophy of art. It traces the reception of Deleuzian thought in a broad range of disciplines and gauges its use-value in each of them. Following the dynamics between structure and becoming that punctuates Deleuzian aesthetics, Discern(e)ments sketches and erases boundaries between methods and traditions in philosophy and art theory, as well as in literary, performance and film studies. Offering both numerous case-studies as well as theoretical outlines, Discern(e)ments engages faculties, disciplines and criticisms not in a mere exchange of points of view, but in heterogenesis mapping out further discernments in Deleuzian aesthetics.

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Nathalie Roelens

Tout le monde en conviendra : lire n'est pas une activité de tout repos. La vue y est certes sollicitée, et même d'emblée, mais c'est pour aussitôt s'éclipser. S'il était purement vu, le texte (dans son sens étendu d'objet de l'interprétation) ne serait pas encore lu. La lecture proprement dite aura lieu dès l'instant où je cesse de voir ce qui m'est donné à voir pour me faufiler au-delà. J'embrasse à présent une réalité tri-dimensionnelle, je deviens le texte et le texte m'épouse, je flaire et je ressens, j'hallucine et je jubile, bref : je lis. La lecture sera synesthésique ou ne sera pas. Mon voyeurisme n'est plus trivial mais absolu. Or ce don de voyance que je m'accorde pour pallier mon aveuglement du départ n'est pas sans risques : je ne suis à l'abri ni de la méprise ni de la foi aveugle. Et c'est là le côté ironique de toute lecture. On a beau s'investir dans l'oeuvre, tôt ou tard l'enchantement sera rompu. Je me vois en train de lire, donc je ne lis plus. Le texte me renvoie soudain à mes propres limites. Il n'empêche que cet ébranlement du sujet soit souvent déclencheur d'une expérience esthétique, expérience qui porte également un enseignement : la lecture aujourd'hui engage quiconque s'y adonne à être prêt à abdiquer à chaque instant ou, du moins, à respecter l'illisible et l'inappropriable.
L'aboutissement de ce travail ce confond avec son présupposé majeur : inutile de vouloir maintenir le clivage entre lecture textuelle et lecture tout court (d'une image, du monde, d'un corps désiré, etc.), ce sont leurs empiètements qui restituent à ce geste ancestral et sans doute universel son souffle et son ampleur. Des scènes de perception entravée, lacunaire ou défectueuse, glanées dans le patrimoine littéraire et plastique contemporain (Proust, Cocteau, Michaux, Calvino, Manganelli, De Chirico, Alechinsky, Fuentes, Biély, Nabokov, Gombrowicz et tant d'autres) et appréhendées comme autant de simulacres de l'expérience de lecture, nous ont permis de cerner l'activité lectorielle au plus proche des textes.

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Edited by Steven Earnshaw

The essays collected here represent the latest thinking on postmodernism in a number of key areas: economics, law, postcolonialism, literature, feminism, film, philosophy. One of the issues common to the volume is the desire to cast postmodernism in a predominantly ethical ('just') light, and the opportunities and obstacles postmodernism might place in the path of the description of, and search for, justice. The collection highlights the most recent trends in postmodern thinking, the turn away from postmodernism as mere discourse and language games to a more politically and socially engaged forum. The book will be of interest to all students of contemporary cultural, social and critical thought.