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Author: Mieke Bal

Abstract

This essay prioritizes art’s solicitation of viewers’ engagement through affect. It focuses on the interactivity between artworks and their viewers. Instead of taking what is there to be seen, affective analysis will establish a relationship between that spectacle and what it does to the people looking at it and being affected by it. Detailed affect-oriented analysis of artworks seems more difficult to achieve than a form-based analysis of the artwork-only. Yet, such analysis is needed to account for the cultural processes in which art functions. ‘Affect’ helps us articulate the effects hitherto called political or ethical, aesthetic or sexual, under a unifying rubric that does not depend on the figurative quality of a given artwork, but seeks out the performative elements and aspects in the artworks that ‘trigger’ the occurrence of affective intensity. Calling on philosophical ideas developed by Bergson (memory) and Deleuze (affect), I analyze how the most recent work by Doris Salcedo (Palimpsesto, 2017) deploys slow time, humble materials, and forms together to entice affect for political awareness. Then, I briefly consider the video installation The House (Eija-Liisa Ahtila, 2002) to analyze the participation of mood for an awareness of care (Heidegger) to oppose indifference.

In: How to Do Things with Affects
Author: Mieke Bal

Abstract

This essay prioritizes art’s solicitation of viewers’ engagement through affect. It focuses on the interactivity between artworks and their viewers. Instead of taking what is there to be seen, affective analysis will establish a relationship between that spectacle and what it does to the people looking at it and being affected by it. Detailed affect-oriented analysis of artworks seems more difficult to achieve than a form-based analysis of the artwork-only. Yet, such analysis is needed to account for the cultural processes in which art functions. ‘Affect’ helps us articulate the effects hitherto called political or ethical, aesthetic or sexual, under a unifying rubric that does not depend on the figurative quality of a given artwork, but seeks out the performative elements and aspects in the artworks that ‘trigger’ the occurrence of affective intensity. Calling on philosophical ideas developed by Bergson (memory) and Deleuze (affect), I analyze how the most recent work by Doris Salcedo (Palimpsesto, 2017) deploys slow time, humble materials, and forms together to entice affect for political awareness. Then, I briefly consider the video installation The House (Eija-Liisa Ahtila, 2002) to analyze the participation of mood for an awareness of care (Heidegger) to oppose indifference.

In: How to Do Things with Affects
In: Linguistics and the Study of Literature
Begegnungen mit Lili Dujourie
Author: Mieke Bal
In: Migratory Settings
In: Essays in Migratory Aesthetics
In: Essays in Migratory Aesthetics
In: Migratory Settings
In: Bibel als Literatur
Author: Mieke Bal

[…] at a moment when moralizing contextualizations of literature illiterately reinscribe the characters of master texts, it is all the more urgent to recognize, by reading, the specifically literary formation of the subjective “appetite” occasioned by “happ’ly that ‘name’ of chaste unhapp’ly set”. For this is the only way to break the legacy of Shakespeare’s “Will”, the only way to open up a time outside the temporality of rape.

In: Reclamations of Shakespeare