Steven Holl asks the same question of architecture that Merleau-Ponty asks of philosophy . Can the ambulating sentient being embedded as he or she is in the matrix of concretized values as they are inscribed in that being experience and understand seeing in a context articulated for that purpose?
Today I have chosen some works which I think will have more or less relevance in this context. Just briefly, I was born in Copenhagen, my parents were from Iceland but were studying in Denmark at the time, and I lived a little bit in-between. Then, ten or eleven years ago I finished art school in Copenhagen and I moved down to Berlin and I have been living there since. I came out of art school at a time (in the early nineties) when, at least in Danish art schools, it was slightly apocalyptic, always being about the end of everything in this sort of…
I want to cover lots and lots of things, and of course there isn’t enough time for everything so what I’m going to do is do it a little bit backwards, meaning I’m going to show you the things that I want to conclude with as fast as I can and then, as time allows, try to give you the context for them and then the sort of the theoretical construct that they fit in. But I do want to touch upon the liquid architecture thing, just a bit. So this is the title that’s in the conference proceedings “alloaesthetics and Neuroaesthetics, phenomenology and neurophysiology”,…
I’ll tell you one or two or three basic points, such that you can retain them mentally. My title is the social brain and reflecting on this after the fact it occurred to me just to call it, either the Spinozist brain or, more mysteriously, the socialist cortex. The latter phrase came from/by reading and preparing for this. I’ll explain later what it refers to. As it has already been alluded to in some of the earlier sessions that there can be a social path to an inquiry into cognition, and intellect and mind, a social path that has been quite prevalent in recent years.…
The conventional wisdom on Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up is that it questions the possibility of perceiving “reality” non-reflectively; that active signification, semiotic interpretation and conceptual meaning-production necessarily interject between the perceiving subject and the perceived object. By this reading, the true meaning of the events in the park in Blow-Up can only be brought to light through the mediating function of Thomas’s (David Hemmings) photographs, and their reconstitution in the form of a semiotic narrative.
Proprioception: from “proprius-ception, ‘one’s own’ ception (…) the ‘body’ itself as, by movement of its own tissues, giving the data of, depth”
(Charles Olson, “Proprioception”)
Up until now, it has not proved common in philosophy for readers to experience the breathless rush through sensory landscapes one finds in novels by William Gibson, or better, Jeff Noon (Vurt, Pollen). Philosophers of most stripes like to recapitulate; to reconstruct a context; to take you back a few steps in time and show you the emergence of an idea. Granted, there have been a few books in recent years coming out of the phenomenological tradition which emphasize the most physical…
Phenomena at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology such as phantom limbs, much discussed in the wake of Ramachandran’s work (1998, 1999, etc.), when considered in a philosophical light, might seem to imply the necessity of the first-person perspective, made popular by Nagel (1979) but stemming from the central insights of the phenomenological tradition (Husserl and Merleau-Ponty in particular).
“I cannot understand the function of the living body except by enacting it myself,
and except in so far as I am a body which rises towards the world.”
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception
“Nothing will come of nothing: speak again!”
William Shakespeare, King Lear
It would be legitimate to speak of ‘natural signs’ only if the anatomical organisation of our body produced a correspondence between specific gestures and ‘given states of mind’. The fact is that the behaviour associated with anger or love is not the same in a Japanese and an occidental. Or, to be more precise, the difference in behaviour corresponds to a difference in the emotions themselves. It is not only the gesture which is contingent in relation to the body’s organisation, it is the manner itself in which we meet the situation and live it.
In the Transcendental Aesthetic of The Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant stated the a priori necessity of the singularity of space, “we can represent to ourselves only one space; and if we speak of diverse spaces, we mean thereby only parts of one and the same space … these parts cannot precede the one all embracing space … they can be thought only as in it”.