Selected Courses on Digital Art-UOWM

12 Δεκεμβρίου 2012


Filed under: Notes — admin @ 10:06

Mark Paterson: Haptic geographies 785 the place of fieldwork. It signifies an apparently
prediscursive ‘expressive and sensuous engagement with space’, an engagement that is inherently embodied and variously aware of the repertoire of senses and haptic knowledges, made as it is by subjects already embedded within a social world; we subjects who, as Crouch (2001: 70) puts it, ‘reflexively and discursively refigure [our] sensuous/ expressive and poetic encounters’. More pertinently, grasping towards that ‘feeling of doing’ within fieldwork requires a more supple awareness of the repertoire of haptic knowledges, including sensuous dispositions and the troubling of traditionally imagined spatial relations of interiority and exteriority, distance and proximity, and sensations per se.
Third, then, the difficulty of evoking or representing complex somatic sensations, and their potential irreducibility to a standard somatosensory lexicon, entails different ways of linguistically engaging with the haptic experiences involved. Linguistic limitations point to the recursive difficulties of transcribing one set of sensations into another B language, whether that ‘language’ be metaphorical (from another discipline like psychology or anthropology), or descriptively literal (from a non-English-speaking culture, eg, seselelame).

 However, this is where a poetic sensibility meets a sensuous disposition, for
evoking and describing sensuous dispositions and haptic knowledges benefits from the
styles and methods involved in experimental or creative writing. 
There are glimpses of this in Stoller, Lingis and Wylie, for example, and one can point to the work of Muecke and so-called fictocriticism (eg, Muecke, 2002) as a creative engagement with language that evokes rather than describes and, like Lingis, encompasses aspects of private experience such as memory, loss and shame, attempting to convey complex politics, histories, moods and sensations through more explorative and expressive language. 

Good ethnographic
work already achieves this, and Geurts’
(2002) enfolded analyses of gait, posture,
movement and idiom in the Anlo-Ewe people
is testament to this. In part this is achievable
through the power of metaphor, and the
English language is full of sensory and even
haptic metaphors (eg, ‘ponder’ comes from
Latin ponderare, to weigh). Poetry is full of
sensory conjunctions achieved through simile
and metaphor, and allows an alternative
pathway to the sensory ‘reporting back’ described
above. Rhythm, the folding of sensations,
creativity in expression, and the
use of sensory similes and metaphors can all
enhance an ‘ethnographer’s toolkit’, make a
sensuous ethnography into a creative one,
and make a creative ethnography out of
sensuous experiences.
This article is dedicated in loving memory
to my mother Jennifer, whose own ordeal
with pain and immobility in the last few years
finally ended when she died on 30 August
2008. Many thanks go to Ian Cook, who was
unreservedly encouraging and supportive
of this project throughout its gestation, and
also knows about pain. Thanks also to my
colleagues in the Historical and Cultural
Geography research group at the University
of Exeter, who commented on an early draft
and provided the necessary time and space
for discussion.
1. ‘The dancer’s body’, programme 1 – ‘A machine that
dances’. BBC Two, transmitted 21 September 2002.
2. ‘Sensory formations’ is a series of edited collections,
including Classen’s The book of touch (2005), Howes’
Empire of the senses (2005), Bull and Back’s The
auditory culture reader (2003), Korsmeyer’s The taste
culture reader (2005) and Drobnick’s The smell culture
reader (2006), and will culminate in Edwards and
Bhaumik’s forthcoming Visual sense (2009).
3. Also Howes’ group project ‘Multi-Sensory Marketing:
A Quantitative, Qualitative and Historical
Assessment’ (2005–2008), funded by Canada’s
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Aristotle 1984: Sense and sensibilia (De sensu et
sensibilibus; translated by J.I. Beare). In Ross, W.D.,
editor, Aristotle: works, volume II, Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 693–713.

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