Jeffrey M. Zacks
From a Barren Rocky Earth to Artists, Philosophers, Meditators and Psychotherapists
Michael M. DelMonte and Maeve Halpin
In The Centrifugal Soul, Mat Collishaw utilises the principles of the zoetrope to create a sculpture where birds and plants appear as ghostly forms suspended outside of the sculpture’s tangible base. The technique of the zoetrope allows for the temporal aspects of a 3D-printed topology to transform perceptions of movement from space to space and from form to form as well as to choreograph an overall composition of space and the dance of display. The intersection of the material arts with optical and natural sciences encourages a sophisticated choreography of viewer perceptions that calls not only on what viewers can see but also what they cannot. My interest is to draw upon some of the conceptual and aesthetic possibilities implied by such choreographic promise in the act of perceiving sculpture. The Centrifugal Soul demonstrates a concern with surface as a site of emergence, or potentially sculpture as a site of emergence for new intensities, expanding and thickening the limits of what we can understand as surface or substance. The behaviour of these surfaces in deformation highlights imaginative possibilities for sculpture to unpack the ephemeral and fluid, including where sculpture might become a technological mediation of vision. I conclude that Collishaw choreographs the intervallic nature of image processes and technologies, and the concepts of motion, time, light and darkness potentially to shift our understanding of the identity of sculpture from an ontological foundation to an epistemological one.
John Brehm and Meg Savel
Edited by Ricardo Gutiérrez Aguilar
If time is money and the human being an endless range of the homo œconomicus figure who maximizes profit/pleasure by minimizing losses/pain, isn’t empathy eminently anti-utilitarian? Isn’t the effort to connect with the Other, by putting oneself in the place of the Other in order to understand their perspective from their point of view, a risk of minimizing profit/pleasure by maximizing losses/pain? And isn’t that a promising prospect? Stemming from this questioning, the paper tells the story of an interdisciplinary doctoral research in development studies on the nomadic concept of empathy. Beyond inter- or trans-disciplinary, empathy becomes an undisciplined concept, which not only navigates from a discipline to the next, but also questions the ethics and epistemology of every step of the way by taking the researcher into unexpected conceptual, geographical and geopolitical territories. In this case, it moves conceptually from anti-utilitarianism to decoloniality; geographically, from Geneva to Quebec and Ontario; and geopolitically, from a Western perspective to Indigenous loci of enunciation. Through three hypostases, empathy raises some interesting ethical and methodological questions in the realm of social sciences. While trying to answer the initial question of the pertinence of an anti-utilitarian type of empathy by exploring what seemed to be from afar an original case study, the concept took the researcher to Canada, to the Iroquois nations and their notion of responsibility towards the 7th generation into the future. However, when confronted with the complex colonial dimension of the relationship with the Indigenous peoples, the concept became a heuristic tool for the researcher who had to redefine her own capacity to empathize with her interlocutors, which in turn redefined her entire project. Undisciplined, empathy finally became an ethical decolonial practice, helping the researcher build unexpected bridges between several schools of thought and perceive a reciprocal, respectful and responsible dialogue.