HC421H: Attention, Perception, and Contemplation in Contemporary Art

Professor: Kate Mondloch

4.00 credits

  • CRN 24922:  Friday, 1400-1650 @ CHA 202

As a range of artists, philosophers, and scientists have demonstrated in recent decades, visual attention is an active, embodied experience that far exceeds eyesight alone. This theory-based seminar will investigate theories and practices of attention, perception, and contemplation in their historical specificity (especially in the transition from modern to contemporary); as they are influenced by their artistic, socio-cultural, and techno-scientific contexts; and as they intersect with contemporary art and spectatorship.

We will review and critique major theoretical approaches to artistic experience, emphasizing the relationships between thinking and feeling, sensing and acting, perception and cognition. We will also investigate how recent scientific discoveries have revolutionized ideas about perception, action, and cognition, as well as the relationship among them, allowing a fresh look at aesthetic experience. Throughout the course, we will explore art’s capacity to call attention to these dynamic correlations between body, mind, and environment. In addition, we will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiments with embodied cognition by engaging in contemplative looking and imaging assignments.