Exploring ways of seeing Art: Neuroscientific, Psychological, Philosophical and the Mystical
This session will include both theory and participation as we take a journey through the ways in which art can be perceived; from the neuroscientific, the psychological, the philosophical and the mystical, and the implications these approaches may have on us, the viewer, by seeing through these different lenses. For millennia Western art has been a means through which humans sought to understand their place in, and relationship to, the world. But in modern times, many of these approaches have been lost. As we track the points in our history where these changes occurred from the Reformation and subsequent Enlightenment, we will take a journey through the works of art themselves as artists sought to either express a loss of enchantment from the world, or conversely embrace it. Drawing on modern neuroscience, psychology, ancient Greek philosophy and the mystical traditions, each of these modes of knowing and approaches to art will be considered in turn as examples of great architecture, paintings and sculpture are explored. The work of ancient Greek and Renaissance philosophers, psychiatrist and author Dr Iain McGilchrist’s theory on the left and right brain hemispheres, Drs Carl Jung and James Hillman, and the mystical as expressed through ancient wisdom traditions will reveal different ways of seeing and attending to art, which claim to have the potential to be transformative for both image and seer.
Art Through the Ages with Mary Attwood – Saturday 11 December 2021 – 10:30am-2.30pm (UK time) – The National Gallery Sainsbury Wing – £35
During this tour of some of the National Gallery’s most treasured art works, we will take a walk through the ages, beginning in the Sainsbury Wing and ending in the rooms which house early twentieth centuries paintings of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.
Shakespeare’s Sacred Places with Dr Valentin Gerlier – Sunday 19 December 2021 – 3pm-4.30pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
In Shakespeare’s plays, and particularly his late plays, forgiveness and reconciliation often occur via the transit through particular realms, whether pastoral, ‘green worlds’ which regenerate human communities or sacred spaces such as chapels and temples where the co-mingling of mortals and divinities is dimly felt.
On the Cunning of Metis with Dr Amber Jacobs – Sunday 16 January 2022 – 3.00-5.00pm (UK time) – via Zoom – £15
Mêtis refers to a particular kind of intelligence in ancient Greece: a philosophical system that was marginalized by Platonic distrust with anything elusive, deceptive, or shifting. Mêtis is a radically anti-teleological non linear way of knowing and being in the world. In ancient Greek philosophy metis was attributed to non-humans: the branching fungal colonies of mycelium, the wily cunning of the fox, the undulating movement of the octopus, the snake’s shedding of its skin. It’s about camouflage, trickery, things which turn into other things as soon as you touch them. Because of the Enlightenment, with its insistence on ‘rational’ ways of knowing, it’s really hard for us to even grasp the movement of mêtis as a kind of meaning that is not interested in arriving at a definitive truth, and a form of action that never had a goal in the first place. It’s not about direction, progress, telos, identity, or argument – all the things that structure our routine ways of being today. Metis is the essence of spontaneity and the infinite play between the seen and unseen and is an intelligence that can only exist in the present moment.
Federico García Lorca and the duende with Dr William Rowlandson – Tuesday 18 January 2022 via Zoom – 6.30-8.00pm UK Time – £10
The Spanish word duende may be translated as goblin, imp, or pixie. For poet, dramatist, actor, artist, puppeteer and pianist Federico García Lorca, the duende is ‘a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought.’ In this talk we discuss the duende, following Lorca’s 1933 poetic lecture, ‘Juego y teoría del duende’ (‘Play and Theory of the Duende’), exploring the presence of the duende in music, poetry, painting and other artistic expression, exploring the daemon and the daimonic, exploring the presence of the duende in life and in death.