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Week6&7:Beyond Visual

“Embodied knowledge, while often denigrated and disavowed within the modern colonial episteme, confirms that Western scientistic validity comprises only one kind of knowing. Manifest through poetics, aesthetics, and other bodily attunements, sensuous knowledges open to Manifest through poetics, aesthetics, and other bodily attunements, sensuous knowledges open to alternative modes of relation. […] A sensory, embodied, affective, and imaginative relation to the world opens to a different kind of ethics and politics.

To be honest, when I first saw the problem scenes, I was a bit overwhelmed, as if I couldn’t answer the problem scenes, which was obviously a challenge for me. So I went back to Sprint 3: Beyond Visual to think about what had been done.

For our first class, we watched Derek Jarman’s Blue. This was the first time I tried to turn off my visual system in a conscious state and perceive through my sense of hearing. I had previously thought that the visual was an important and indispensable way of perceiving art. However, watching Derek Jarman’s Blue gradually changed my perception. In the film, the entire screen is filled with blue, with music and the noisy sound of the hospital, the clamour of the sea in the background. There are no words, no dialogue, just blue. Almost completely blind by the time the film was made, Garman knew it would be his last film, and in his artistic approach, “he refused to represent objects, scenery or the human body, pushing the form of cinema to its limits. Blue, the colour of the shroud, the colour of silence, of suffering, but also of the sky, the sea and the fleur-de-lys.” It is in this vast blue that Jarman gives his final answer and curtain call to life. He says, “I offer you the blue of this universe, the blue, a door to the soul, where endless possibilities will become reality.” During the almost hour-long film, I seemed to really feel the last years of the artist after his AIDS. Yes, it was amazing, I felt it too . Why did it feel so real? Therefore, when returning to the question scene again, I will not hesitate to answer. I agree with Neimanis that “sensuous knowledges open to alternative modes of relation”. Vision is not the only way to connect our sensuous knowledge.

Do artworks focused on senses other than sight negate the visual completely or do they still have a visual aesthetic? Can you give examples to support your answer?

Based on this question, I would argue that artworks focused on senses other than sight do not negate the visual entirely and still have a visual aesthetic. The famous French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), in his book Phenomenology of Perception, put forward the theory of ‘perception first’, placing the discussion of touch in the context of the body as an ‘earthly existence’. “The body is used here as a ‘medium of communication with the world’. Far from being a simple act or sensation in the eyes of most people, touch actually points to a higher level of interactivity, multiplicity and reciprocity, and the most obvious benefit of touch-led art experiences is that they empower the blind and partially sighted to appreciate art in contrast to the overwhelmingly dominant visual arts. They often incorporate sound, which is felt in the form of touching and listening. 【1】For example, the British sound artist James Bulley (1984-) created a work, Tactus, specifically for the blind and partially sighted community. Each note has its own specific sound pattern, and using capacitive sensing technology, when the participant touches these notes, a corresponding sound spectrum emerges. The artist believes that tactile-based works give the blind and partially sighted community the most intuitive experience of art, a group whose perception of touch is superior to ours and which is often overlooked by people who are used to relying on sight. And art that is accessible through the other senses still has aesthetic significance because, aesthetics , Philosophical study of the qualities that make something an object of aesthetic interest and of the nature of aesthetic value and judgment. [2]Thus,works with aesthetic significance are those that contain visual aesthetics. So when we perceive beauty using senses other than our primary vision, it is equally aesthetically significant.

Here it reminds me of the experience of going to Calton Hill with the Basho group. We needed to experience this experience through senses other than the visuals. Therefore, from the beginning, I consciously ‘switched off’ my visual senses. I experimented with hearing, smelling and touching a different way of experiencing Calton Hill. It was amazing how different it was from my first visit to Calton Hill. On my previous visit to Calton Hill, I was captivated by the beauty of the scenery before me. As the sun set admiring Calton Hill, standing high above the city, there was a canvas on all sides. It seemed to unconsciously block out my other senses. But this experience was different. I began to listen and feel the sound of the wind blowing past my ears and hitting my face, the sound of the wind blending with nature, the crisp footsteps on the historic stone paths and even the lively chatter of pedestrians coming and going, all blended together with Calton Hill. I touch the marks of the years with my hands and feel the traces of time left in the dirt. It was all more wonderful than the previous experience.

The group and I recorded the different sounds and edited them into a piece with a complete storyline. I was most impressed by a middle-aged man we met at the top of the mountain who patiently told us about the history of Calton Hill.

We completed this assignment very well. It was also an amazing experience.


Critical thinking

However, many problems were also evident in this activity.

  1. The division of labour in the group was not clear. This led to a very uneven distribution of our tasks. It also reduced the efficiency of task completion to some extent, e.g. some members worked late, but others were only involved in a small part of the work. This made our final presentation seem incomplete, while

Many details need to be perfected.

  1. Imaginative limitations. In the final presentation, the way the members of the Purple Group presented themselves gave me a new feeling. When we turn off our ‘visual’ perception of art, we automatically associate it with our sense of hearing. The Purple Group members gave us an immersive experience of their Calton Hill experience through live re-enactment, which was a very vivid way of presenting it.

We can try to use the art toolkit to enrich our experiences and Presentations. It is an effective way to ‘engage’ in the workshop experience, as in open learning courses.




【1】Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. β€œThe Phenomenology of Perception.” (1945).

【2】Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. “aesthetics summary.” Encyclopedia Britannica, April 29, 2021.


3 replies to “Week6&7:Beyond Visual”

  1. s2444627 says:

    The blogger was able to reflect very specifically on the BLUE viewed in class and described her feelings in a very specific way. The author went from being overwhelmed by the subject matter at the beginning to being able to reflect on the resources and work through the reflections for the basho group. What surprised me was that we usually think of hearing first after excluding sight, but the author cited an artistic experience of touch, James Bulley’s Tactus, where music is felt through touching notes, which I believe is a great artistic experience.

  2. s2457669 says:

    your blog is very detailed and descriptive and reads like a story. i found the beginning about Derek Jarman and negating the visual to be very interesting as you have talked about your own references in relation to Blue and how you personally experienced it. this research translated well into your trip to calton hill that you say was different due to thinking about sensory experiences and how we rarely ‘experience’ a place in this way. its good you have mentioned what didnt go so well about the visit and group work and how you have learnt ways of negating this through other groups presentations.

  3. s2185092 says:

    The author describes her own learning journey, from being overwhelmed at first to writing in detail about her reflections, and is able to demonstrate a series of reflections that I didn’t think through at first, but was inspired here.

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