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I Feel Like An Abstract Line

I Feel Like An Abstract Line Image






Date: Wednesday 30 July, 2014
Time: 6.15 - 7.45pm
Venue: William Macmahon Ball Theatre
            Ground Floor,
            Old Arts Building
            The University of Melbourne
Presenter: Laura U. Marks  (Simon Fraser University)
Register here.
For more information: Email Wendy Haslem

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Mirror-touch synaesthetes are capable of extraordinary embodied responses to the world: an extreme empathy to other people and also to non-human and non-living things. Non-synaesthetes can also cultivate embodied and empathic responses to inorganic forms. My case study is the “abstract line,” in Deleuze and Guattari’s term: a line that describes no figure but exhibits its own feeling qualities. Perceptual theories from the nineteenth century to the present suggest ways that humans can relate to a line, feel the way a line feels, even without projecting human qualities on it. Feeling like an abstract line, then, allows us to feel what we have in common with nonorganic life. Examples will be drawn from Islamic art, abstract painting, animation, and analog video synthesis. Meanwhile, it’s important to critique the ways commercial applications are trying to instrumentalize human acts of perception and empathy.

Laura U. Marks is the Dena Wosk University Professor of Art and Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University.  A scholar, theorist, and curator of independent and experimental media arts, she is the author of The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (Due niversity Press, 2000), Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (Minnesota University Press, 2002), and many essays. Several years of research in Islamic art history and philosophy gave rise to Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (MIT Press, 2010). She has curated programs of experimental media for venues around the world. Her current research interests are the media arts of the Arab and Muslim world, intercultural perspectives on new media art, and philosophical approaches to materiality and information culture.