Cloudy Somatics and Haptic Imagery

Paper @ Cloud and Molecular aesthetics – The Third International Conference on Transdisciplinary Imaging at the Intersections of Art, Science and Culture, Istanbul 2014.
By Stahl Stenslie. Summary of the text. 


The paper will research and present how our somatosensory system influences our perception of imagery and how we corporally make and understand images.

Imagery and image making represent complex and multidimensional events. The perception of an image is in no case a straightforward process, but includes both physical, mental and chemical components. Through our body and all our senses of touch we continuously shape images of the world.

On the one side we have the Haptic Image, ‘calling upon the Eye to Touch’ (McTighe, p.31, 2013), that is producing sensations of touch by watching images. On the other side we have what can be called Somatic Images where the body and all its senses produce perceptive images. The Somatic Image arise where active somatic perception produces and influences image making. Much like Haptic Images, these Somatic images are not clear visions, but blurry and cloudy representations of the world. Further these cloudy somatic images represent what can be called an existential somatics, being corporally anchored and fundamentally important elements in our Life World (Merleau Ponty) and constitutional for our phenomenological being. The final paper so compares the alternative idioms of Haptic versus Somatic images to critically consider their cloudy imagery and image making.

Trish McTighe. 2013. The Haptic Aesthetic in Samuel Beckett’s Drama. Palgrave Macmillan. (p.31)


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