Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Making thought visible: The practice of the artist/philosopher
by Grabiner, Ellen, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2007, 309; 3282705
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation follows an existing tradition in which a particular type of ocularcentrism has been challenged as the only viable epistemological model residing in the visual. For decades Western thinkers have been asking if a visual paradigm must be intrinsically dualistic? They have inquired as to whether or not the Cartesian project has resulted in a conflation of knowing and seeing such that a fixed gaze has come to obscure all other possible manners of looking. Instead of simply adding yet another voice to the critique, this project disrupts the flattening, homogenizing and thinning of experience. To the methods of phenomenology, hermeneutics, archaeology, genealogy and deconstruction—all attempts, in one way or another, to upend the dehumanizing effects of objectification-this inquiry adds the approach of the artist to the project of thawing frozen conceptual structures.

Building on select texts by Richard Rorty and the thoughts of a group of Post-Nietzschean Continental philosophers—Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, Cixous and Foucault, among others—this study illuminates the contributions of the artist to the purview of the philosopher. When the artist trains her gaze on thinking about looking, she becomes artist/philosopher, transforming a set of foundational dualistic oppositions, including that of sense and thought.

Applying an aesthetic lens to selected philosophical works drew three, original, paradigmatic figures to the surface: the Lenticular Image , the Reverse Panopticon and the (W)hole . Inhabiting the cusp between art and philosophy—a discursive space that one might place under the umbrella of Visual Culture Studies—I clarify these paradigms with the aid of images ranging from Plato's Cave to Zippy the Pinhead. The practical application of these "new" conceptual models zooms in on the historically hypostatized gaze and makes visible practices of looking that have long been hidden in its shadow. When embraced, they are constitutive of the approach of the artist/philosopher yielding experience which fluxes rather than fixes, shimmers instead of solidifies, and unveils itself, in all its richness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Natov, Roni
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Fine arts, Philosophy
Keywords: Aesthetics, Artist/philosopher, Philosopher, Visual culture
Publication Number: 3282705
ISBN: 9780549247166
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