Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Art as neuronarrative of liminal experience
by Elliott, Brenda, Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2015, 272; 10009148
Abstract (Summary)

This study used arts-based and narrative inquiry to explore how artists express subjectively felt liminal experience in the process of art-making. The term liminal comes from the Latin limen, meaning threshold, and can be defined as an in-between, limbo, or suspension between two more relatively stable states in persons, places, or things. Transition through the liminal state contains the potential of change. Although the process of change within the human experience has been widely studied, the mechanisms of change, the means by which change occurs, has received relatively little attention.

Fourteen artists were interviewed about their use of art as a means to deal with what they have felt to be liminal experiences. Interviews included direct observation of the artwork, descriptions of the art process, reports of subjective experience of art-making, the artist's writing and journaling of the art process, and the context of the art-making within the life of the participant. The interviewed focused on two main topics: 1. The artist's subjective descriptions of the liminal experience, including his or her major concerns throughout the experience; 2. The artist's description of how he or she dealt with the experience of liminality through art-making and attempted to resolve those concerns. The comparative analysis technique of grounded theory was used to generate conceptual categories and their properties from evidence provided directly from interview data, to generate a basic social psychological process.

For the artists interviewed, meaningful and satisfying self-creation was archived in their art process. Anticipatory platforming, the beginning of creation of renewed identity, emerged as a basic social psychological process. Anticipatory platforming finds its place within autopoeisis, the principle of self-generation of an organism as demonstrated in dynamical systems.

The concept of anticipatory platforming may prove significant for psychotherapists who are challenged to find ways to support people dealing with change and uncertainty in an increasingly stressful world. It is proposed that an affectively attuned and body-based anticipatory platform facilitates a framework for a transformed self, through which the threshold of change is supported.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kremer, Jurgen
Commitee: Combs, Leslie, Flax, Bob
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Neurosciences
Keywords: Anticipatory platforming, Artists, Liminal experience
Publication Number: 10009148
ISBN: 978-1-339-45825-0
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