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Title: MIRROR-TOUCH SYNAESTHESIA
THRESHOLDS OF EMPATHY WITH ART
By: Daria Martin (Editor)
Format: Hardback

List price: £39.99
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ISBN 10: 0198769288
ISBN 13: 9780198769286
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Publisher: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
Pub. date: 21 September, 2017
Pages: 400
Description: People with mirror-touch synaesthesia feel a physical sense of touch on their own bodies when they witness touch to other people and often to objects. This book brings together essays and conversations by prominent neuroscientists, anthropologists, artists, art theorists, curators, film theorists, and philosophers, to explore this phenomenon.
Synopsis: The neurological condition synaesthesia (the mixing of the senses) has for over a century provoked thought about new ways of artistic seeing. In 'Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia: Thresholds of Empathy with Art', a recently discovered manifestation provides a lens through which to re-examine contemporary art experience. People with mirror-touch synaesthesia feel a physical sense of touch on their own bodies when they witness touch to other people and often to objects. The condition is a rare yet recognizable form of heightened physical empathy: present in just 1 in 75 people, it is associated with an overactivation of the near-universal mirror (neuron) system. Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia places mirror-touch, a social synaesthesia, at the center of dialogue between neuroscience, the humanities, and contemporary art theory and practice in order to explore, for the first time, its powerful potential as a model for the embodied and relational spectatorship of art.Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia brings together essays and conversations by prominent neuroscientists, anthropologists, artists, art theorists, curators, film theorists, and philosophers, as well as mirror-touch synaesthetes, and through proximity, and cross-disciplinary dialogue, dissolves barriers not only between disciplines but between theory and experience. Essays and conversations find common ground not only in quantitative but also qualitative accounts of mirror-touch; the editor has conducted the first set of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with mirror-touch synaesthetes, which is available in excerpted form in the volume's appendix. This collection of thirteen conversations constitutes a performative project at the boundary between art and science that invites contributors to reconceptualize the ways that artworks invite us into relational, co-constitutional forms of spectatorship. Critically refiguring arguments about the 'social turn' in contemporary art that reject the traditional viewer as passive, Mirror-Touch Synaesthesia expands the possibilities of what art we might call 'participatory', and enriches debates around the social agency of perception.In these essays, the blurred thresholds in mirror-touch between sight and touch, and between self and other, are redrawn for an interdisciplinary readership as newly sensitized boundaries between image and action, art and life.
Publication: UK
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Returns: Returnable
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