The aesthetic stance
on the conditions and consequences of becoming a beholder
What does it mean to be an aesthetic beholder? Is it different than simply being a perceiver? Most theories of aesthetic perception focus on (1) features of the perceived object and its presentation or (2) on psychological evaluative or emotional responses and intentions of perceiver and artist. In this chapter I propose that we need to look at the process of engaged perception itself, and further that this temporal process of becoming a beholder must be understood in its embodied, contextual and dynamic specificity. Through both phenomenological and neuroscientific explorations I analyze what is characteristic about a more "aesthetic stance" and argue that there is a certain asymmetry between beholder and beheld, which has to do with a disengagement of goal-directed action, and which allows for other kinds of perceptual involvement than in a more "practical stance". It is a multi-disciplinary project integrating a sensorimotor notion of aesthetic affordances, eighteenth century philosophy, and large-scale brain network findings. What ensues is a new dynamic framework for future empirical and theoretical research on aesthetic perception.
Brincker, M. (2015)., The aesthetic stance: on the conditions and consequences of becoming a beholder, in , Aesthetics and the embodied mind, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 117-138.
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