Browsing Faculty of Arts and Media by Subjects
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Drawing as situated knowingThis paper will present drawing as a knowledge generating activity that integrates perception, action and cognition. It will do so with reference to a range of theory that champions the epistemic significance of perception in knowledge generation, with particular reference to contemporary theories of ‘situated cognition’, as well as the related work of contemporary theorists like Mark Johnson and Alva Noë. The absorption of art and design education within the broader university presents many advantages, however a principal drawback is a phenomenon the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu recognises as the exclusion of métier, that is “the material determinations of symbolic practices” – including drawing – from such “scholastic universes” (Bourdieu, 2000, p.20). This, it will be argued, is a key factor in what James Elkins describes as “the incommensurability of studio art production and university life” (Elkins, 2009, p.128). Perhaps due to its neophyte status within the university, the discipline of art and design has been remarkably ineffective in countering the negative repercussions of this phenomenon. This paper will argue that it is magnified by a tendency – as outlined by Johnson – within the mainstream of Anglo-American analytical philosophy to “retain an exclusive focus on the conceptual/propositional as the only meaning that mattered for our knowledge of the world” (Johnson, 2007, p.9). This view presents language, and textual argument in particular, as representing the ‘gold standard’ in terms of a model for knowledge generation within the university. By way of counterweight, this paper will present ‘situated cognition’, a theory indebted to both Phenomenology and American Pragmatism, both of these philosophical movements run counter to mainstream epistemology. In short this paper will, in this way, make a case for the rehabilitation of drawing as an important way of knowing.
‘Mass May Be the Single Most Important Sensation’: Perceptual Philosophies in Dance ImprovisationThis essay investigates how sensory perception can be cultivated as a key practice in dance improvisation performance. It looks at how artists such as Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, and Simone Forti propose frameworks for exercising attention to perception when improvising, and how these scores can be routes towards experiencing different ways of relating to one’s environment. The essay draws on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to theorizing sensory perception in bodily movement and in strands of ecological philosophy, developing the idea of ‘intelligent flesh’ as fundamental to both. It then uses the author’s experiences of working with these artists’ scores to investigate how perceptual attention can be creatively proposed, physicalized, performed, or, in Alva Noë’s term, ‘enacted’ in improvisation.