Friday, April 6, 2012

The Affective Presence

The Affective Presence and Aesthetics [Estetika]
    Why are food images so captivating? What causes visual , olfactory or auditory stimulation, often cerebral or spiritual inspiration?  What captures and rivets our attention and, perhaps, urges us to value that image or acquire or replicate it?

Janine Antoni, Gnaw: Chocolate and Lard , 1992

 Robert Watts, Chocolate Cream Pie (chrome) 1964

Davide Ligare, Burger, Fries and Apple, 2001 

Wayne Thiebaud (b. Arizona, 1920), Cakes, 1963

 James Peale (b. 1779-1831), Balsam Apple and Vegetables, 1820s

Petroglyph depicting a possibly sleeping antelope, located at Tin Taghirt on the Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, North Africa between about 8000 BCE and 4000 BCE, in the Mesolithic age.


 Liiterary refernces to food and food environments are legion.  From  non-fiction, one that I remember best is Carrie Young's, “A Scandinavian Thanksgiving in North Dakota” Gourmet 43, Nov 1983.  Literaray uses of food image

   The personal human experience of cultural exposure and our historical trajectory, topped by Homosapien brain activity and sensuality, leads to but does not confront the fundamental question of aesthetics: how does one subject's representation of an object make it affective for another subject? 
Visualal stimulation, and other senses, therefore, are deeply involved with issues of self-identification, symbolic interaction, intersubjectivity, and ego images.

In 1971, anthropologist Robert Plant Armstrong published a landmark book, The Affecting Presence: An Essay in Humanistic Anthropology (University of Chicago Press).

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