[-empyre-] neuroaesthetics and modeling

Andrew Murphie andrew.murphie at gmail.com
Wed Oct 1 10:33:20 EST 2008

and just as a final note - I get Johannes' wondering about aesthetics and
neuroscience if by "aesthetics" is meant "art" ... what I meant by this,
however, was the more traditional understanding of aesthetics as raising the
question of the relation between sensation/perception and
experience/knowledge ... it seems to me that neuroscience is "aesthetic" in
this way on a number of counts. Of course, from the point of view of many
here, all science is aesthetic, but I suspect that neuroaesthetic is so more
emphatically, and inevitably more "reflexively". This makes the engagements
between art and neuroscience the more interesting perhaps ..

best, andrew

2008/10/1 Anna Munster <A.Munster at unsw.edu.au>

> Well, it's the end of the month in Australia but perhaps not yet in
> US/Canada/Latin America - so I will chance one more post to reply to
> Johannes' intriguing and challenging questions:
>  I would then ask Anna or Barbara why, in their opinion, the theories of
>> "affect"  (as Massumi has helped to popularize them) have been of such
>> interest to artists and psychologists  (maybe this is obvious), more so than
>> to scientists perhaps  (those neuroscientists i have met seemed
>> predominantly interested in observable, mappable data based on scans during
>> action (motorsensory),  and yet more so to theorists and cultural scientists
>> than to perforrmer and designers, unless emotion design and affective
>> computing are considered scientific or neuro-aesthetic.
> I don't know that I can answer this comprehensively but the Massumi-affect
> ideas are put into circulation by for example, artists  like Chris Salter -
> http://www.chrissalter.com/, and I also think there is a sustained
> dialogue between those kind of notions of affect and architectural/spatial/
> installation practice, especially in the work coming out of the Melbourne
> based research lab SIAL (www.sial.rmit.edu.au/). Additonally Raphael
> Lozano-Hemmer's work is certainly in a constant dialogue with those
> characterizations of affect, as he and Massumi collaborate on a number of
> projects. Although I certainly wouldn't want to claim that these artists
> 'apply' Massumi's affect, there are certainly resonating relations - for
> both art and philsophy between them.
> Why neuroscientists 'en masse' are not so interested in these more
> difficult ideas about affect, I can't answer concretely but can only
> speculate. First, I think as we've all observed throughout this debate the
> neurosciences are not a unified field anyway and perhaps Johannes you have
> only met a certain kind....I have mentioned Steven Rose who is a
> neurobiologist and who wrote: The Future of the Brain: The Promise and
> Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience 2005. Much of the critique of methodology,
> determinism etc that Lucette (who keeps being confused with trish!) has
> raised in this discussion are proposed also by Rose. Perhaps he doesn't read
> Massumi but I can see that he would certainly take a much more open relation
> to affect than deeming it 'mappable'.
> Then there is Damasio - I have some problems with his epiphenomenological
> relations between brain and mind but he certainly is open to affect. In
> fact, he goes to some of the same sources as Massumi does (if only because
> Massumi is drawn to  Deleuze who is drawn to Spinoza), in his last book -
> Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain.
> And then there is Varela and Thompson - who Barbara might put on the beyond
> phenomenology side of things - a philosopher and a neuroscientist who
> critique cognitivism via phenomenology and Buddhism...although these ideas
> are not 'Massumian' - I think there are some interesting relationships
> around affect.
> In these examples I've listed I think there are 2 important sets of
> resonating interests around affect - 1)Rose, Damasio and Varela are all
> neurobiologists or have biological training. I'm not sure what to make about
> this except to say that this makes its way into their philosophical
> frameworks because all are very strongly embodied neuroscientists and this
> makes a difference to their 'nonmappable' views of mind and world. Likewise,
> Massumi's work is very much about a radical conception of embodiment (which
> also admits that 'the body' is abstract). 2) All neuroscientists and
> thinkers are in some way interested in 'joy'....no doubt reaching back into
> a Spinozist genealogy.
> I think there is much much more that needs to be done around joyful affect
> ( and I don't mean the psychology of happiness movement which I think is
> profoundly neo-liberal to draw in another thread of the discussion!). And in
> fact I don't feel so depressed by present times and the 'collapse' of the
> world even though I do think it's a very serious collapse, it may also turn
> out to be a joyful one....
> best anna
> Dr.Anna Munster
> Senior Lecturer
> School of Art History and Theory
> College of Fine Arts
> P.O. Box 259
> Paddington
> NSW 2021
> 612 9385 0741 (tel)
> 612 9385 0615(fax)
> a.munster at unsw.edu.au
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

"Take me to the operator, I want to ask some questions" - Barbara

"A traveller, who has lost his way, should not ask, Where am I? What he
really wants to know is, Where are the other places" - Alfred North

"I thought I had reached port; but I seemed to be cast back again into the
open sea" (Deleuze and Guattari, after Leibniz)

Andrew Murphie - Associate Professor
School of English, Media and Performing Arts, University of New South Wales,
Sydney, Australia, 2052
Editor - The Fibreculture Journal http://journal.fibreculture.org/>

fax:612 93856812 tlf:612 93855548 email: a.murphie at unsw.edu.au
room 311H, Webster Building
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://mail.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20081001/d8f2a520/attachment.html

More information about the empyre mailing list