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An education of attention: The perception of change in Bergson and performance

Cull, LK (2013) An education of attention: The perception of change in Bergson and performance In: How to Do Things with Pictures: Skill, Practice, Performance. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Brussels, New York, Oxford and Vienna. ISBN 978-3-631-62972-7

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A number of thinkers across the disciplines have referred to the notion of an ‘education of attention’, including William James, JJ Gibson and more recently Tim Ingold. In this chapter though, I focus on what this concept might imply for both Henri Bergson - in the context of his broader conception of philosophy as involving an extension of the faculties of perception – and for the (un-)artist Allan Kaprow, particularly in relation to the 1970s participatory events he referred to as his ‘Activities’ (as distinct from his better known ‘Happenings’). In terms of the book's theme of ‘visual learning’, the chapter reflects on both Bergson and Kaprow’s discussions of the relationship between seeing and doing, juxtaposing Bergson’s concern for the utilitarian and limited nature of a perception bound up with action, with Kaprow’s attempt to think beyond a spectator/participant binary in his evaluation of the specificity of ‘watching in the midst of doing’. Throughout though, I think less in terms of the visual as a discrete realm, and more in terms of attention and learning as fundamentally embodied activities. In turn, drawing from Deleuze as well as Bergson and Kaprow, I will be concerned with art and philosophy as (potentially continuous) instances of education, where learning is understood less as a transition from non-knowledge to knowledge mediated by recognition and common sense, and more as an encounter with change, difference or the new.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Guildford School of Acting
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Cull, LK
Editors :
Benedek, A
Nyiri, K
Date : 16 September 2013
Uncontrolled Keywords : attention, Bergson, philosophy, art, Allan Kaprow, education
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:28
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 14:08

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