[-empyre-] neuroaesthetics and modeling

Anna Munster A.Munster at unsw.edu.au
Wed Sep 24 18:26:45 EST 2008


Hi Johannes and others,

I'll just respond to the excerpt from one of my posts, although I have  
to say you are rising very interesting and challenging questions about  
models, traffic and collaboration
> lastly,  Anna Munster refered to "non-modeling"  (what would that be?)

I think what I might have meant was a kind of 'unmodeling' ie undoing  
the place of 'the model' as determining in a scientific or aesthetic  
project. Of course I don't mean to suggest we just float free of  
paradigms but rather that we not be onerously committed to 'a'  
paradigm, especially one that privileges either mental representation  
or brute biology as causal....I think Andrew may have something more  
to say here because I suspect that both he and I are interested in a  
notion of metamodelling (in the sense that both Gilbert Simondon,  
philosopher of technology and Felix Guattari use the term to denote a  
kind of processual modeling in which all models are subjected to  
destabilisation and cross-fertilisation and one lands at a kind of  
commitment to follow the changes and deformations rather than 'the  
model'...good complexity theory would be an example of this approach...)

> and to
>>> .. hearing Steve Kurtz ( from Critical Art Ensemble) saying once  
>>> that he wasn't the least bit interested in whether scientists and  
>>> artists actually had anything to offer each other's disciplines.  
>>> What he believed was important in science-art collaboration was  
>>> whether you shared a 'political' project with each other and that  
>>> if you did, the alliance between science and art could become very  
>>> powerful.>>
> Can you think of such political projects that would leave the short- 
> lived fashion of "neuroaesthetics" behind?

I wasn't so much thinking of leaving neuroaesthetics behind as  
embarking on aesthetico-scientific collaborations that do something  
different with neuroaesthetics - perhaps intervene into a 'politics of  
perception'. This means precisely to question methodology, practice  
and how one 'applies' one's findings...so, for example, does one  
deploy neuroscience in an aesthetic context to confirm the idea that  
we are emotionally 'hard wired' or does one deploy neuroaesthetics to  
suggest that  the neural basis of perception is both transformed and  
transformative once it is inmixed with technics, culture, other  
aspects of embodiment etc...

I think this kind of project is precisely what Paul and Alan engage  
with in their work 'The Shape of Thought' - which they haven't spoken  
about!! Another artist engaged in this kind of work is Warren Neidich  
and to an extent, I think Olafur Eliasson...although both seem to  
collaborate with transforming ideas etc in neuroscience rather than  
collaborate with scientists. But Paul and Alan do...



Dr.Anna Munster
Senior Lecturer
School of Art History and Theory
College of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 259
NSW 2021
612 9385 0741 (tel)
612 9385 0615(fax)
a.munster at unsw.edu.au

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