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June 12th, 2011
Terrence Malick’s New World
By (University of Chicago)

On screen and soundtrack, The New World stages internal relations and disjunctions while revealing them to be constitutive of a cinematic world. Yet the purpose of the film is precisely not to articulate a defensible thesis about “worldhood.” It is to effect nothing less than a conversion of the gaze—a purpose inimical to an academic industry that takes positive knowledge as its goal.

June 12th, 2011
Interview with Walter Benn Michaels on Photography and Politics

So one easy way to put it would be to say that for many people, photography perfectly embodied the theory and practice of the postmodern, whereas for some people, it created the possibility or felt necessity for a critique of postmodernism. Or, to put the point in terms of intentionality: for many people, the photograph embodies the critique of the intentional that we find in theorists as different as Barthes and Derrida, Crimp and Rancière; for others it embodies something like the opposite – the opportunity to re-imagine intentionality.

June 12th, 2011
By (University of California, Berkeley)

The hypothesis of neurovisuality may allow a general theory of visual culture to be coordinated with a general science of vision. Possibly it can help make sense of unresolved problems in art history, including the question of the “power of images” and their “agency” in human perception.

June 12th, 2011
Responses to Davis, “Neurovisuality”
By (College of William & Mary)

Charles Palermo writes: Things remain visible to people outside the visuality within which they were intentionally produced, though what is visible in an artifact in this context (or what is visible about it) may differ from what is visible in the context of visuality. By the same token, people can succeed to many visualities, though […]

June 12th, 2011
On Catherine Malabou’s What Should We Do with Our Brain?
By (Johns Hopkins University)

It thus seems as if the very problem which is at the center of the mind/brain debate, namely, the nature of intentionality, is now being offered as the solution: the claim is that intentional agency just is the biological process that can produce the desired-for “gaps” or differences that characterize freedom.

June 12th, 2011
The Labyrinth of Interpretation: On Cathy Gere’s Knossos and The Prophets of Modernism
By (Yeshiva University)

At the center of Picasso’s Guernica, a woman’s arm thrusts an illuminated candle over a screaming horse in the direction of a bull’s head. Long recognized as a mirror-reversal of the artist’s Minotauromachy etching of two years earlier, this compositional arrangement and its mythological reference at a certain point came to structure interpretations of this […]

June 12th, 2011
Fiction: A Dialogue
By (Stanford University)

…we can reason our way out of a deontological stance into a utilitarian one. In fact we moderns are called on to do that every day. But the cognitive load required to apply the brakes on our fast and frugal heuristics is intense. So the stories I love most offer some kind of relief from the rational self-restraint I’m forced to exercise all the time—on the road, in the office, at home.

June 12th, 2011
The Policeman
Two Problems with a Neuroaesthetic Theory of Interpretation

…if we’re thinking like Mark Johnson, we can simply add these examples to our bucket of evidence that the human mind is structured by our bodily orientation in space, and hence so is our art. Put that way, the difference between having an account of the meaning of the work and having an account of its causes is not only easy to see, but, I would argue, an easy strike against the kinds of neuro approaches I’ve been describing thus far.

June 12th, 2011
Response to Ashton, “Two Problems”
By (Stanford University)

Cognitive scientists have found out quite a lot about the psychology of intention. We humans are intentional to our core. Do we come into the world trailing clouds of glory? Maybe. But we definitely come trailing clouds of concepts. Far from experiencing the world as “one great blooming, buzzing confusion,” babies start detecting patterns only […]

June 12th, 2011
Fig. 1. Pablo Picasso, Woman with Pears (Fernande), 1909 (© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society, New York)
Carl Einstein, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Cubism, and the Visual Brain
By (Williams College)

On this question Einstein and Kahnweiler held diametrically opposed positions. Moreover–and this is my main interest–their respective positions correspond to successive phases in the developing neuroscientific understanding of the visual brain. Kahnweiler’s interpretation of cubism was shaped by the neuroscience of his day while, remarkably, Einstein’s account of seeing, as he believed it to be embodied in cubist paintings, anticipates by half a century a fundamental breakthrough in the neuroscientific understanding of vision.

June 12th, 2011
Kane_Figure 9
Music, Image Schemata and “The Hidden Art”
By (Yale University)

…I could agree with Mark Johnson, if his claim were simply descriptive in character. That is, I would find nothing objectionable if he were only claiming that we require multiple, often inconsistent structures (or habits, or preferences, or norms) to describe musical works. But Johnson’s claim is not intended to be descriptive; image-schematic theory is intended to explain how such experiences are conceptualized in the first place, i.e. how they are structured.

June 10th, 2011
Issue #2: Evaluating Neuroaesthetics

In a special dossier, contributors present claims for and against neuro-, cognitive, and evolutionary aesthetics. Edited by Todd Cronan.

June 1st, 2011
Three Poems
By (Johns Hopkins University)

Nonsite presents new poetry. Three prose poems by Michael Fried: “The Divergence,” “An Essay in Aesthetics,” and “Akhmatova Looks Up.”

March 21st, 2011
Distribution of U.S. Wealth, 2007Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4
Responses to Neoliberal Aesthetics

Walter Benn Michael’s “Neoliberal Aesthetics: Fried, Rancière and the Form of the Photograph,” published in our first issue, has generated responses from Michael Clune, Nicholas Brown, and Todd Cronan.

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