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Hack the Experience: Tools for Artists from Cognitive Science

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ISBN: 9781947447653 9781947447660 Year: Pages: 164 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0206.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-26 11:21:04
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Hack The Experience will reframe your perspective on how your audience engages your work. This will happen as you learn how to control attention through spatial and time-based techniques that you can harness as you build immersive installations or as you think about how to best arrange your work in an exhibition. You’ll learn things about the senses and how they interface with attention so that you can build in visceral forms of interactivity, engage people’s empathetic responses, and frame their moods. This book is a dense bouillon-cube of techniques that you can adapt and apply to your personal practice, and it’s a book that will walk you step-by-step through skill sets from ethnography, cognitive science, and multi-modal metaphors. The core argument of this book is that art is a form of cognitive engineering and that the physical environment (or objects in the physical environment) can be shaped to maximize emotional and sensory experience. Many types of art will benefit from this handbook (because cognition is pervasive in our experience of art), but it is particularly relevant to immersive experiential works such as installations, participatory/interactive environments, performance art, curatorial practice, architecture and landscape architecture, complex durational works, and works requiring new models of documentation. These types of work benefit from the empirical findings of cognitive science because intentionally leveraging basic human cognition in artworks can give participants new ways of seeing the world that are cognitively relevant. This leveraging process provides a new layer in the construction of conceptually grounded works.

The Ballad of the Lone Medievalist

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ISBN: 9781947447547 9781947447554 Year: Pages: 388 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0205.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
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Are you a Lone Medievalist? Working medievalists are often the only scholar of the Middle Ages in a department, a university, or a hundred-mile radius. While working to build a body of focused scholarly work, the lone medievalist is expected to be a generalist in the classroom and a contributing member of a campus community that rarely offers disciplinary community in return. As a result, overtasked and single medievalists often find it challenging to advocate for their work and field. As other responsibilities and expectations crowd in, we come to feel disconnected from the projects and subjects that sustain our intellectual passion. An insidious isolation even from one another creeps in, and soon, even attending a conference of fellow medievalists can become a lonely experience. Surrounded by scholars with greater institutional support, lower teaching loads, or more robust research agendas, we may feel alienated from our work — the work to which we’ve dedicated our careers.

Meaningful Flesh: Reflections on Religion and Nature for a Queer Planet

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ISBN: 9781947447325 9781947447332 Year: Pages: 152 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0194.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Social Sciences
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:31
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Religion is much queerer than we ever imagined. Nature is as well. These are the two basic insights that have led to this volume: the authors included here hope to queerly go where no thinkers have gone before. The combination of queer theory and religion has been happening for at least 25 years. People such as John Boswell began to examine the history of religious traditions with a queer eye, and soon after we had the indecent theology of Marcella Althaus Ried. Jay Johnston, one of the authors in this issue, is among those who have used the queer eye to interrogate authority within Christian theological traditions. At the same time, there have been many queer interrogations of “nature,” perhaps most notably in the works of Joan Roughgarden and Ann Fausto-Sterling, and more recently in the works of Catriona Sandilands and Timothy Morton (an author in this volume). However, the intersections of religion, nature, and queer theory have been largely left untouched. With the exception of Dan Spencer, who writes the introduction for this volume and is one of the early pioneers in this realm of thought with his book Gay and Gaia (Pilgrim Press, 1996), and the work of Greta Gaard in developing a queer ecofeminist thought, religion and nature, or religion and ecology, have largely ignored the realm of queer theory. In part, the blinders to queer theory on the part of eco-thinkers (religious or otherwise) are similar to the blinders eco-thinkers have when it comes to postmodern thought in general: namely, if there are no absolute foundations, how does one create an environmental ethic and a “nature” to save? For this reason and many others, this volume on religion, nature, and queer theory is groundbreaking. Though these essays span many different disciplines and themes, they are all held together by the triple focus on religion, nature, and queer theory. Each of these essays offers a unique contribution to the intersection of religion, nature, and queer theory, and all of them challenge strict boundaries proposed in religious rhetoric and many discourses surrounding “nature.” Carol Wayne White’s essay draws from a queer reading of James Baldwin to develop an African American religious naturalism, which highlights humans as polyamorous bastards. Jacob Erickson’s essay examines Isabella Rossellini’s “Green Porno” and Martin Luther’s work to develop an irreverent theology. Jay Johnson draws from personal relationships with his late dog, and Master/Pup fetish-play, to blur the boundaries between humans and other animals, specifically within ethical and theological discourse. Whitney Bauman reflects on how the very processes of globalization and climate change queer our identities and call for a queer and versatile planetary ethic. Finally, Timothy Morton leads us through a reflection on queer green sex toys to challenge the ontology of agrologistics. Each of these essays in their own way is concerned with fleshing out more meaningful encounters with the planetary community. Without being too ambitious, we hope that these sets of essays will help to open up a new trajectory of conversations at the intersection of religion, nature, and queer theory.

Nothing in MoMA

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ISBN: 9781947447752 9781947447769 Year: Pages: 90 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0208.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Arts in general
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Nothing in MoMA is a series of photographs captured in areas of Manhattan museums in which there are no artworks, written words, or people. Addressing the “grammar that organizes and secures our scene of looking,” in the words of art historian David Joselit’s introduction, the book imagines a composite empty museum or a narrative of marginal attention. Originally displayed in partial prototype as a children’s board book at Artists Space in 2015, Nothing in MoMA is here collected for the first time in the series’ entirety. Evoking the history of indeterminacy as much as that of institutional critique, the deadpan composition of Adams’s photographs likewise recalls François Jullien’s theory of bland aesthetics, in a playful reductio of socio-institutional space to a bare literality. Both a visual essay on museum phenomenology and a performance document, Nothing in MoMA describes a choreography of avoidance, in which a conceptual constraint becomes a means of seeing and navigating concrete space.

Covert Plants: Vegetal Consciousness and Agency in an Anthropocentric World

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ISBN: 9781947447691 9781947447707 Year: Pages: 266 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0207.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Ecology
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Covert Plants contributes to newly emerging discourses on the implications of vegetal life for the arts and culture. This stretches to changes in our perception of ‘nature’ and to the adapting roles of botany, evolutionary ecology, and environmental aesthetics in the humanities. Its editors and contributors seek various expressions of vegetal life rather than the mere representation of such, and they proceed from the conviction that a rigorous approach to thinking with and through vegetal life must be interdisciplinary. At a time when urgent calls for restorative care and reparative action have been sounded for the environment, this essay volume presents a range of academic and creative perspectives, from evolutionary biology to literary theory, philosophy to poetry, which respond to the perplexing problems and paradoxes of vegetal thinking. Representations of vegetal life often include plant analogies and plant imagery. These representations have at times obscured the diversity of plant behavior and experience. Covert Plants probes the implications of vegetal life for thought and how new plant science is changing our perception of the vegetal — around us and in us. How can we think, speak, and write about plant life without falling into human-nature dyads, or without tumbling into reductive theoretical notions about the always complex relations between cognition and action, identity and value, subject and object? A full view of this shifting perspective requires a ‘stereoscopic’ lens through which to view plants, but also simultaneously to alter our human-centered viewpoint. Plants are no longer the passive object of contemplation, but are increasingly resembling ‘subjects,’ ‘stakeholders,’ or ‘actors.’ As such, the plant now makes unprecedented demands upon the nature of contemplation itself. Moreover, the aesthetic, political, and legal implications of new knowledge regarding plants’ ability to communicate, sense, and learn require intensive, cross-disciplinary investigation. By doing this, we can intervene into current attitudes to climate change and sustainability, and hopefully revise, for the better, human philosophies, ethics, and aesthetics that touch upon plant life.

Mythodologies: Methods in Medieval Studies, Chaucer, and Book History

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ISBN: 9781947447561 9781947447578 Year: Pages: 292 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0202.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:31
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Mythodologies challenges the implied methodology in contemporary studies in the humanities. We claim, at times, that we gather facts or what we will call evidence, and from that form hypotheses and conclusions. Of course, we recognize that the sum total of evidence for any argument is beyond comprehension; therefore, we construct, and we claim, preliminary hypotheses, perhaps to organize the chaos of evidence, or perhaps simply to find it; we might then see (we claim) whether that evidence challenges our tentative hypotheses. Ideally, we could work this way. Yet the history of scholarship and our own practices suggest we do nothing of the kind. Rather, we work the way we teach our composition students to write: choose or construct a thesis, then invent the evidence to support it. This book has three parts, examining such methods and pseudo-methods of invention in medieval studies, bibliography, and editing. Part One, “Noster Chaucer,” looks at examples in Chaucer studies, such as the notion that Chaucer wrote iambic pentameter, and the definition of a canon in Chaucer. “Our” Chaucer has, it seems, little to do with Chaucer himself, and in constructing this entity, Chaucerians are engaged largely in self-validation of their own tradition. Part Two, “Bibliography and Book History,” consists of three studies in the field of bibliography: the recent rise in studies of annotations; the implications of presumably neutral terminology in editing, a case-study in cataloguing. Part Three, “Cacophonies: A Bibliographical Rondo,” is a series of brief studies extending these critiques to other areas in the humanities. It seems not to matter what we talk about: meter, book history, the sex life of bonobos. In all of these discussions, we see the persistence of error, the intractability of uncritical assumptions, and the dominance of authority over evidence.

Sappho: Fragments

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ISBN: 9781947447974 9781947447981 Year: Pages: 168 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0238.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-26 11:21:03
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In Sappho, Jonathan Goldberg takes as his model the fragmentary state in which this sublime poet’s writing survives, a set of compositional and theoretical resources for living and thinking in more fully erotic ways in the present and the future. This book thus offers fragmentary commentary on disparate (Sapphic) works, such as the comics of Alison Bechdel, the paintings and cartoons of Leonardo da Vinci, Robert Reid-Pharr’s “Living as a Lesbian,” Madeleine de Scudéry’s Histoire de Sapho, John Donne’s “Sapho to Philaenis,” Todd Haynes and Patricia Highsmith’s Carol, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, writings by Willa Cather, and the paintings and writings of Simeon Solomon, among other works. Goldberg challenges readers to imagine and experience what Sarah Orne Jewett named the “country of our friendship,” a love both exceedingly strange and compellingly familiar. Just as Sappho’s coinage “bitter-sweet” describes eros as inextricably contradictory — two things at once, one thing after another, each interrupting, complicating, each other — the juxtapositions in this book mean to continually call into question categories of identity and identification in the wake of a quintessential woman writer from Lesbos. Over and over again, Goldberg’s Sappho: ]fragments inquires into how race, sexuality, and gender cross each other. The theoretical genius of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick presides over this set of meditations and mediations on likeness and desire. Rather than homogenizing its many subjects, it invites the reader to explore and inhabit new transits within and through what Audre Lorde called “the very house of difference.”

The Wind ~ An Unruly Living

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ISBN: 9781947447950 9781947447967 Year: Pages: 176 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0237.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History
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A process begun in Pisa, Italy in April of 2016 during a workshop on political theory in the Anthropocene, The Wind ~ An Unruly Living is a philosophical exercise (askêsis, translated, following Ignatius of Loyola, as “spiritual exercise”). In his exercise, Bendik-Keymer throws to the void: the ideology of self-ownership from a society of possession. By using the Stoic kanôn, the rule of living by phûsis, he follows an element. Unhappily for the Stoic and happily for us, the wind is unruly. A swerve of currents through a social fabric, it’s full of holes, all holely. Stretch and stitch as you want, it might settle more shapely tattered into light, but it will never become whole. The wind’s only holesome.

Tar for Mortar: "The Library of Babel" and the Dream of Totality

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ISBN: 9781947447509 9781947447516 Year: Pages: 106 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0196.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:31
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Tar for Mortar offers an in-depth exploration of one of literature’s greatest tricksters, Jorge Luis Borges. His short story “The Library of Babel” is a signature examplar of this playfulness, though not merely for the inverted world it imagines, where a library thought to contain all possible permutations of all letters and words and books is plumbed by pious librarians looking for divinely pre-fabricated truths. One must grapple as well with the irony of Borges’s narration, which undermines at every turn its narrator’s claims of the library’s universality, including the very possibility of exhausting meaning through combinatory processing. Borges directed readers to his non-fiction to discover the true author of the idea of the universal library. But his supposedly historical essays are notoriously riddled with false references and self-contradictions. Whether in truth or in fiction, Borges never reaches a stable conclusion about the atomic premises of the universal library — is it possible to find a character set capable of expressing all possible meaning, or do these letters, like his stories and essays, divide from themselves in a restless incompletion? While many readers of Borges see him as presaging our digital technologies, they often give too much credit to our inventions in doing so. Those who elide the necessary incompletion of the Library of Babel compare it to the Internet on the assumption that both are total archives of all possible thought and expression. Though Borges’s imaginings lend themselves to digital creativity (libraryofbabel.info is certainly evidence of this), they do so by showing the necessary incompleteness of every totalizing project, no matter how technologically refined. Ultimately, Basile nudges readers toward the idea that a fictional/imaginary exposition can hold a certain power over technology

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