What do we see when we see, how do we perceive vision itself, and how do we speak and write about seeing and perception? The articles collected in this volume attempt to observe the constitution of perception, be it of a visual field or visibleMoreWhat do we see when we see, how do we perceive vision itself, and how do we speak and write about seeing and perception?
The articles collected in this volume attempt to observe the constitution of perception, be it of a visual field or visible objects, but also of images which emerge in the mind, e.g. that of the reader in the act of reading. The act of vision is profoundly impure, and seeing very much entails other modes of sense-based perception such as listening, touching, feeling, tasting or smelling.
Various modes of seeing can moreover be observed within literary texts or in music, dreams, memory or all kinds of bodily experiences like dance, pain, sexuality etc., so that there cannot be any such thing as a clearly defined realm called visuality. Moreover, seer and seen are mutually permeable in any visual practice, reflecting on the reciprocal relationship between the visuality of objects and the very act of looking, which could be understood not only as a sensual experience but also as an interaction, an intellectual performance and interpretation.
But if there exists this inseparable bond between object and spectator, how can we distance ourselves from the act of looking and show seeing, how is it possible to talk and write about seeing perception? The impurity of the visual, and the contextuality of all acts of looking, constitutes a common thread running through the articles collected in this volume. The ways in which images are perceived in Western culture are inextricably linked with verbal and textual structures and ways of thinking. However, the contributions in this volume are less concerned with the practical, political implications of a visual culture which formed the backbone of visual studies research a few years ago, and more with an adequate understanding of the various concepts and operations at work in theories of visual perception, of seeing, the gaze, and of focalisation