[-empyre-] neuroaesthetics and modeling

Timothy Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Thu Sep 25 20:49:15 EST 2008

>Hi, everything, this has been a fantastic discussion this month, 
>which Renate and I have been following closely while trying to keep 
>our heads above the waters of the start of the academic term.

I've been particularly fascinated by the input of Paul and Alan whose 
work I've followed for many years (although I haven't I've run into 
you guys since we ate Indian food together the last time I was last 
in Calgary in 2001, a couple of weeks after 9/11).  I continue to be 
very interested in various articulations of trauma and fantasy that 
understand our orientations around emotive reality to be dependent on 
the contingencies of temporality (retrospection, flashback, after 
image, etc.) and the curious way in which fantasy and its psychic 
conditions (paranoia, identification, trauma) can translate imaginary 
states into hyper-affective reality (some of you might have run into 
some of my published work along these lines, like Drama Trauma or 
Like a Film).

I've appreciated Alan and Paul's visualizations along similar lines, 
in which the process of artistic performance is tied not only to 
highly scientific procedures of visualization but also to the 
temporal and imaginary conditions surrounding the combined production 
and reception of their pieces.  Indeed, in the case of the piece Paul 
describes below, the retrospectives shifts of trauma and memory 
provide the ground for the factual data driving the visualization 

It is interesting that while most cognitive psychologists would be 
inclined to dismiss the scientific relevance of psychoanalytic 
theories of fantasy and trauma, work like Paul and Alan's continues 
to foreground what Paul calls "the mind's capacity to invent and 
occupy imaginary worlds-even though the data acquired during the 
sessions described above might possibly have 'real' and scientific 
value. "

Many thanks to Michele for shaping such a fascinating discussion 
during her first month on the -empyre- moderating team.  We're 
looking forward to the final week.


Timothy Murray
Director, Society for the Humanities
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
A. D. White House
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

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