‘homunculus’: a counter argument to embodied practice (theory & practice)

homunculus: i came across an interesting thesis on embodied photography , which mentioned the counter argument of homunculus – an idea that came about during the enlightenment where different parts of the body are processed in different and separate parts of the brain, as seen in this diagram. the term homunculus means ‘little man’ and suggest a cartesian separation between body and mind, where the body is passive and controlled by the mind – the mind acting like a control centre for the body as a somewhat ‘disembodied’ process of representation. conversely, a phenomenological approach argues that the body is entangled rather than separate to the mind – a two way system where both mind and body are equally active, a process where the perception and body cannot be separated or disentangled from each other or experience of the world.

theory & practice: so what does any of this really mean to art making. i guess thinking about experience as an entangled and embodied process in this way, suggests that a way of making that ‘is’ rather than ‘represents’ experience – or how Merleau-Ponty says, beyond a representation of experience but as a new experience that comes into being from and with that experience. this theory is not so much something i consciously address but grabs my attention because i seem to be questioning it in my making.

anyway, tonight we discuss how theory might relate to practice and in relation to landscape – i see many echoes of these questions emerging in my work – the relationship between still and moving image, the real and the ideal, the body and the landscape, image and experience etc. especially in new work begun on making day where ‘incomplete’ landscapes of video and print sit together to complete and work together as experience and representation in some way, not as a mutually exclusive of and/or …  reflection post session to follow

post session reflection: some thoughts about a research based practice or a practice based research – i suppose when working in tandem with each other it has the capacity to generate knowledge and new ways of knowing which manifests through and in the making. it can draw out new possibilities not just within your materials, making and area of research but also in new areas, ideas, materials and making. a question we were asked to consider is ‘what did we find out that could not have been found out though any other means’? this really asks why do it or why do it this way? i also really liked the idea of ‘phronesis’ – a practical wisdom gained through making.





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