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Markus Schrenk: What is Proprioceptive Art?

Many works of art are predominantly visual or auditory in nature (e.g. drawing, painting, photography or music). Mixed forms are also common (e.g. opera, theatre, dance). The so-called chemical senses (smelling/tasting) are hardly ever addressed and only some works of art (happenings, fluxus, certain performances) involve the audience’s own physicality and might thereby also – together with vision and audition – intentionally provoke the recipients’ perception of their own body, i.e., their proprioception.

This project poses the radical question whether there could be artworks that are essentially proprioceptive in nature, i.e. that have the perception of one’s own body’s movement and position in space, balance, muscle tension, stretching, pain, temperature, energy and stress levels, etc., at their core (while paying less attention the other senses). In addition to theoretical considerations which show the plausibility of a positive answer, potential examples for this art form will be given.

For more information about the project see the project website or the short presentation (below):

www.proprioception.phil.hhu.de

Picture above the text: William Forsythes White Bouncy Castle (2011). Photo by Dominik Mentzos.

One Comment

  1. Sensei Shidoshi Sensei Shidoshi August 6, 2021

    Thanks for this stimulating intro, Professor! One minor question: isn’t the fear in the case of the net largely produced by visual cues (depth perception, etc.)? Even the instructions seem to speak of ‚viewers‘. So what about the proprioceptive focus here? Some of the other examples shown seem similarly challengeable…

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