Cultivating Perception through Artworks
Phenomenological Enactments of Ethics, Politics, and Culture
Published by: Indiana University Press
What are the ethical, political and cultural consequences of forgetting how to trust our senses? How can artworks help us see, sense, think, and interact in ways that are outside of the systems of convention and order that frame so much of our lives? In Cultivating Perception through Artworks, Helen Fielding challenges us to think alongside and according to artworks, cultivating a perception of what is really there and being expressed by them.
Drawing from and expanding on the work of philosophers such as Luce Irigaray and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Fielding urges us to trust our senses and engage relationally with works of art in the here and now rather than distancing and systematizing them as aesthetic objects.
Cultivating Perception through Artworks examines examples as diverse as a Rembrandt painting, M. NourbeSe Philip's poetry, and Louise Bourgeois' public sculpture, to demonstrate how artworks enact ethics, politics, or culture. By engaging with different art forms and discovering the unique way that each opens us to the world in a new and unexpected ways, Fielding reveals the importance of our moral, political, and cultural lives.
1. Perceptual Ethics
2. The Ethics of Embodied Logos
3. Experiencing Public Space
4. Building Different Worlds
5. Polyphonic Attunement
6. Decolonizing Reason
Cultivating Perception through Artworks is written with an acuity that is as refreshing as it is empowering and is an indispensable guide for those of us wishing to think accurately and compassionately within today's contexts of global challenge and strife. Fielding's art-based cultivations of embodied perception help practitioners deviate from the varied cognitive-linguistic systems and binary logics in which we are embedded and through which all manner of inequities are rationalized and allowed to proliferate. Her demonstrations reveal how we may reconfigure our often-overstimulated senses and learn to trust them as means of "encountering alterity without appropriation, domination, or fusion".~Jorella Andrews, Goldsmiths, University of London
In Cultivating Perception through Artworks, Fielding radiantly presents the reader with living encounters with artworks in which painting unveils the invisible, seemingly floating sculptures mark time, and poetry tells stories that cannot be told—thus disclosing the ethical, political, and cultural potential of her rich notion of embodied perceptual cognition. With a distinctive feminist, critical phenomenological approach, Fielding thinks alongside artworks, adroitly interweaving perception with reflection in the quest for respectful attunement to alterity and an openness to 'the movement of life.'~Mariana Ortega, author of In-Between: Latina Feminist Phenomenology, Multiplicity, and the Self
In this important work, Helen A. Fielding shows us what it would mean to think and perceive with artworks, bringing them to life on the page in ways that teach us to do philosophy differently. Engaging with Merleau-Ponty, as well as Arendt, Irigaray, Heidegger and others, Fielding brings phenomenology and art to bear on, and to speak to, one another. This delicate and insightful balance means that Fielding's phenomenological approach and her theoretical analyses flow from the artworks with which she stays, critically transforming how phenomenology takes place. More than a question of application or description, this is an intertwining that shows phenomenology of art at its best.~Alia Al-Saji, McGill University