Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices by Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason

41Dksz64iPL._SX218_BO1204203200_QL40_.jpg Author Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason
Isbn 9781841504919
File size 4.25MB
Year 2012
Pages 334
Language English
File format PDF
Category art


Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices Edited by Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason intellect Bristol, UK / Chicago, USA First published in the UK in 2012 by Intellect, The Mill, Parnall Road, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3JG, UK First published in the USA in 2012 by Intellect, The University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA Copyright © 2012 Intellect Ltd All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Cover photograph: Chris Nash. Dancers: Valentina Formenti and Kate Jackson Cover designer: Holly Rose Copy-editor: MPS Ltd. Typesetting: Mac Style, Beverley, E. Yorkshire Production manager: Tim Mitchell ISBN 978-1-84150-491-9/EISBN 978-1-84150-700-2 Printed and bound by Hobbs, UK Contents Acknowledgements 9 Foreword Amelia Jones 11 Introduction 17 Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason Part I: Mirroring Movements: Empathy and Social Interactions Introduction Dee Reynolds 29 Chapter 1: Knowing Me, Knowing You: Autism, Kinesthetic Empathy and Applied Performance Nicola Shaughnessy 33 Chapter 2: Kinesthetic Empathy and Movement Metaphor in Dance Movement Psychotherapy 51 Bonnie Meekums Chapter 3: Affective Responses to Everyday Actions Amy E. Hayes and Steven P. Tipper Part II: Kinesthetic Engagement: Embodied Responses and Intersubjectivity Introduction Dee Reynolds Chapter 4: Cinematic Empathy: Spectator Involvement in the Film Experience Adriano D’Aloia Chapter 5: Musical Group Interaction, Intersubjectivity and Merged Subjectivity Tal-Chen Rabinowitch, Ian Cross and Pamela Burnard 67 87 91 109 Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices Chapter 6: Kinesthetic Empathy and the Dance’s Body: From Emotion to Affect Dee Reynolds Part III: Kinesthetic Impact: Performance and Embodied Engagement Introduction Matthew Reason 121 139 Chapter 7: Kinesthetic Empathy in Charlie Chaplin’s Silent Films Guillemette Bolens 143 Chapter 8: Effort and Empathy: Engaging with Film Performance Lucy Fife Donaldson 157 Chapter 9: Breaking the Distance: Empathy and Ethical Awareness in Performance 175 Rose Parekh-Gaihede Part IV: Artistic Enquiries: Kinesthetic Empathy and Practice-Based Research Introduction Matthew Reason 195 Chapter 10: Re-Thinking Stillness: Empathetic Experiences of Stillness in Performance and Sculpture Victoria Gray 199 Chapter 11: Empathy and Exchange: Audience Experiences of Scenography Joslin McKinney 219 Chapter 12: Photography and the Representation of Kinesthetic Empathy Matthew Reason, with photographs by Chris Nash 237 Part V: Technological Practices: Kinesthetic Empathy in Virtual and Interactive Environments Introduction 259 Dee Reynolds Chapter 13: The Poetics of Motion Capture and Visualisation Techniques: The Differences between Watching Real and Virtual Dancing Bodies Sarah Whatley 263 Chapter 14: Interactive Multimedia Performance and the Audience’s Experience of Kinesthetic Empathy Brian Knoth 281 6 Contents Chapter 15: Kinesthetic Empathy Interaction: Exploring the Concept of Psychomotor Abilities and Kinesthetic Empathy in Designing Interactive Sports Equipment 301 Maiken Hillerup Fogtmann Conclusion Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason 317 Notes on Contributors 323 Index 329 7 Acknowledgements This book comes at the end of a three-year-long project titled Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy. We would like to thank the other members of the project team – Shantel Ehrenberg, Marie-Hélène Grosbras, Corinne Jola, Anna Kuppuswamy, Frank Pollick, Katie Popperwell and Karen Wood – whose research and thinking around kinesthetic empathy has shaped this publication in many ways. In April 2010 the Watching Dance project held a conference on the topic ‘Kinesthetic Empathy: Concepts and Contexts’. Some of the chapters here began life as conference papers, with others being specially commissioned for this publication. We would like to thank all the authors who have contributed to this publication for helping to make the editorial process so smooth and particularly Chris Nash for engaging with the photographic research collaboration and producing such stunning images. We’d like to thank Amelia Jones for contributing a foreword. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the financial support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which funded the project from 2008 to 2011 and also the support received from our respective institutions, University of Manchester and York St John University. Foreword Amelia Jones Kinesthetic empathy in philosophical and art history: Thoughts on how and what art means H ow does art (in the broadest sense of cultural works produced with creative intent) mean? The originality of this book is to take this question, along with the larger question of how we communicate, and insist that it can only be answered through an interdisciplinary study of embodied expression. Honouring the innovations of this book, I want to sketch, as an art historian interested in performance and the performativity of perception and interpretation, a very brief history of how and what art has come to mean in relation to theories in philosophy and the visual arts. As the title of this book suggests, empathy is one way of thinking about our connection to art (or desire to see and interpret is informed by our empathetic connection with the person we imagine to be making/performing or to have made/performed the work). Art historian Wilhelm Worringer developed the idea of empathy in relation to aesthetics in a 1908 book, Abstraktion und Einfühlung: ein Beitrag zur Stilpsychologie (Abstraction and Empathy: Essays in the Psychology of Style), drawing on the theories of Theodor Lipps and Aloïs Riegl.1 Aesthetic empathy, as philosopher David Morgan points out, is an extension of the German idealist concept of art as a kind of ‘enchantment’, art as animated by the expressiveness of the creative genius (Morgan 1996). At play in this concept is the key notion that particular kinds of human expression (here, visual art) project feelings and elicit what Lipps had called ‘aesthetic sympathy’ such that those engaging with the work feel (presumably similar feelings) in response (Lipps 1900; Morgan 1996: 321). This is a simple idea with profound resonances across the belief systems going backward and forward in time, linked of course in European culture to eighteenth-century aesthetics and nineteenth-century romanticism as well as to twentieth-century ideas about modernist art. Art is that which expresses feeling. And art can, by expressing feeling, move viewers in Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices the future by changing their ideas, their emotions, their beliefs (this latter idea being the key to twentieth-century modernism in its avant-gardist forms). Worringer, along with others developing parallel ideas, thus planted the seeds for one of the primary impulses in modernism – the extension of a nineteenth-century romantic idea of art as expression into expressionism. As a movement and a tendency common to twentieth-century modernism (particularly in Worringer’s own Germany), expressionism expanded the belief that the forms, materials and themes of a work of art express individual feelings to be, in turn, re-experienced and interpreted by later viewers. This theory expands upon the core belief behind western aesthetics (art is an expression of an individual subject), while opening the way for what the authors of the chapters in this volume call kinesthetic empathy (art, and other modes of human being in the world, potentially engages others through eliciting empathetic responses). Movement or kinesthesia is the term added to Worringer’s theory, with aesthetics (in Euro-American thought largely focussed on still images and objects) opened to the shifting, pulsating, writhing, dancing, expressive action of bodies in space over time. More than just an idea of the expression of feeling, kinesthetic empathy explores what Henri Bergson, just before Worringer’s investigations, argued to be the durational dimension of human experience, the embodied mind’s capacity to give meaning to each present instant by making recourse to past embodied memories.2 Dance, theatre, cinema, music and performance are time-based media (what Matthew Reason usefully calls in the introduction to part three of this book ‘explicit performances’ that announce themselves as creative and ‘to-be-looked-at’ as such) and, if we stick with creative expressions, for obvious reasons thus appear to be paradigmatic sites of investigation for the project of exploring kinesthetic empathy. Here, however, from an art historical point of view, I want to push this boundary of how we conceive meaning and time in relation to embodiment by suggesting (as argued by several authors in this book) that a static artwork (in Worringer’s sense) also clearly functions as a potential site of kinesthetic empathy. As Bergson’s model suggests, the durationality of any encounter explains how humans make sense of things, people and other aspects of the world. All experience is durational and technically speaking (in terms of how human perception works) there is no moment of non-kinesthetic empathy in our apprehension of creative or even everyday objects and bodies in the world. This broader concept of durationality adds a crucial phenomenological dimension to the understanding of human intersubjectivity as kinesthetic and empathetic.3 In fact, Bergson is careful to note that all experience is durational. The moving body in space ‘has no reality except for a conscious spectator … and motion … is a mental synthesis, a psychic … process’ (1889: 111). Motion, insofar as we can ‘know’ what it is and means, does not ‘exist’ except in perception. This observation, made in his 1889 book Time and Free Will, revolves in fact around a discussion of the expressive (what Worringer or the authors here might call empathetic) capacity of art as a special domain of human production. I cite Bergson on this point at length because of the very interesting implications of what 12 Foreword he is saying in relation to what is innovative about this book on kinesthetic empathy (the emphases are mine): [A]rt aims at impressing feelings on us rather than expressing them: it suggests them to us, and willingly dispenses with the imitation of nature when it finds some more efficacious means.… [W]e should have to relive the life of the subject who experiences it [the emotion] if we wished to grasp it in its original complexity. Yet the artist aims at giving us a share in this emotion, so rich, so personal, so novel, and at enabling us to experience what he cannot make us understand. This he will bring about by choosing, among the outward signs of his emotions, those which our body is likely to imitate mechanically, though slightly, as soon as it perceives them, so as not to transport us all at once into the indefinable psychological state which called them forth. Thus will be broken down the barrier interposed by time and space between his consciousness and ours: and the richer in ideas and the more pregnant with sensations and emotions is the feeling within whose limits the artist has brought us, the deeper and the higher shall we find the beauty thus expressed. The successive intensities of the aesthetic feeling thus correspond to changes of state occurring in us, and the degrees of depth to the larger or smaller number of elementary psychic phenomena which we simply discern in the fundamental emotion. (1889: 16, 18) For Bergson, art impresses rather than expresses feelings – this is to say that art’s primary intention in a phenomenological sense of purposeful action is to convey emotions to future viewers. And, presciently suggesting the body’s ‘mechanical imitation’ of the emotions that have been expressed in the work, Bergson opens the door for later discussions of ‘mirroring’ – in turn, structures that ‘call forth’ the psychological states originally motivating the artist’s creative actions. Most importantly, this interrelation (which is of course paradigmatically intersubjective) leads to a potential ‘change of state’ for the viewer, who can in fact become (as it were) a different person in relation to the work. Interestingly, in the case of static visual artworks, the intersubjectivity rarely involves the simultaneous presence of the two subjects in question in the same space.4 With ‘live’ performances the potential is for both performer and viewer to be changed through this empathetic relation as they are, presumably, in the same space at the same time. All of the elements are in place in Bergson, to some degree, for a theory of kinesthetic empathy. What is new to the recent scholarship, however, so usefully brought together here, is the more elaborated awareness (due in part to a century’s developments in philosophy and neuroscience, not to mention huge demographic shifts internationally and transformations in technology) of how this interchange works, and what it means that we are never whole and final as subjects but always porous, through kinesthetic empathy perhaps, to the impact and impression of other subjective expressions around us. Also new is the explicit political recognition in work by Rose Parekh-Gaihede’s chapter and in work by others elsewhere of the ethical dimensions of exploring how the intersubjectivity of kinesthetic empathy works 13 Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices in specific situations.5 Key to the ethics of such an exploration is, as many of the chapters in this book point out, to acknowledge the contextual and embodied specificity of how these exchanges occur. In every case, we must now – being part of an expanded globalized cultural context – be extremely sensitive to the nuances of how particular bodies (including our own) are positioned, presented, experienced, understood geographically, technologically, spatially, temporally and otherwise. And to keep the determination of meaning open as a process rather than finalising it in a particular moment of identity or signification. How do bodies, particularly those creatively motivated to move intentionally towards the ends of communicating artistic meaning (however this might be defined), come to mean to others who encounter them? This is a question with profound implications – in fact, all of history and contemporary life (including politics, pedagogy, therapies of various kinds, and other intersubjective arenas, as the chapters here suggest) could be explored using the model of kinesthetic empathy. Drawing together the insights from aesthetic theory, phenomenology, neuroscience and other domains, Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason propose a new framework for imagining how embodied subjects engage with the world, how we come to mean for one another. More than anything, this array of chapters proposes to provide new ways of understanding intersubjective relationships in general. Between Bergson and today, nothing could be more important than trying to come to grips with how we signify to one another and (as an extension) ways of potentially enhancing or changing these processes of intersubjective meaning. To keep them, in fact, in motion (kinesthetic) rather than allowing the kind of freezing to take place that enables fascism, certain modes of neo-liberalism, fundamentalism and totalitarianism. Honouring the durationality of subjects (and meaning), while attempting to understand their significance, their impact and influences on us now, is the single most urgent task we face as the world becomes more and more globalised and more and more obviously interconnected and, at the same time, increasingly confusing and complex. Kinesthetic empathy can, as the authors here suggest, result in both positive and negative (oppressive) effects. It is the fruit of such nuanced studies as these chapters offer here to insist that we be aware of these effects as they come into formation. Notes 1. Particularly interesting in this regard are Riegl’s theory of the ‘Kunstwollen’, the collective artistic will that ‘makes its way forward in the struggle with function, raw material, and technique’, giving the work meaning; and his concept of the ‘haptic’ qualities of works of art – the potential of visual art to elicit a sense of tangibility (beyond vision or ‘optic’ qualities) and, by extension, a visceral and embodied response. On the Kunstwollen, see Riegl (1985: 5–17). 2. See Bergson (1889, 1908). 3. This is not to say that all experiences are ontologically equivalent at all. Clearly the experience of dance or of a film will be processed and understood differently from that of a painting on the wall. 14 Foreword 4. This tendency has changed with the recent turn to performative, live interactions on the part of visual artists. These have been theorised since the 1970s in terms of an opening to ‘situation’, ‘intersubjectivity’ or ‘interrelationality’. 5.  I make this point, for example, using the more Merleau-Pontian rhetoric of chiasm and reciprocity, in my books Body Art/Performing the Subject (Jones 1998) and Self/Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject (Jones 2006). See also the work of cultural studies and performance studies scholars, for example Noland (2009) and Muñoz (2009). References Bergson, H. (1896). Matter and Memory, trans. N. M. Paul and W. Scott Palmer. New York: Zone Books, 2002; from fifth edition of 1908. Bergson, H. (1889). Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness, trans. F. L. Pogson. London: George Allen and Co., 1913, facsimile reprinted Adamant Media Corporation, 2005. Jones, A. (1998). Body Art/Performing the Subject. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Jones, A. (2006). Self/Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject. New York & London: Routledge. Lipps, T. (1900). ‘Aesthetische Einfühlung’. Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, 22: 432–433. Morgan, D. (1996). ‘The Enchantment of Art: Abstraction and Empathy from German Romanticism to Expressionism’. Journal of the History of Ideas, 57 (2): 317–341. Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York: New York University Press. Noland, C. (2009). Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures, Producing Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Riegl, A. (1985). Late Roman Art Industry (1901), trans. Rolf Winkes. Rome: Giorgio Bretschneider. 15  Introduction Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason W e embarked on the process of devising and editing this book having spent the previous three years engaged with the question of kinesthetic empathy. The immediate context for this was a research project, titled ‘Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy’, funded in the UK by the Arts and Humanities Research Council between 2008 and 2011. As is natural with such projects both it and we changed and grew during the course of the research. One area where this occurred was in the increasing realisation that debates about kinesthetic empathy were taking place in different parts of the world, in many disciplines and in contexts far beyond our immediate focus on dance.   Kinesthetic empathy is clearly a concept that many people (scholars, artists, educationalists and others) are finding useful, a moment of conceptual coming together that we believe is both produced by and representative of a particular cultural and scientific moment. The cultural moment is what has been described as a ‘corporeal turn’ (Sheets-Johnstone 2009; Tamborino 2002) or growing focus on ‘embodied knowledge’ (Nelson 2009: 115) in the arts, humanities and sciences. The scientific moment is marked by research into the evocatively named ‘mirror neuron’ system, which has extended into characterising empathic reaction in relation to the sense of movement (Grosbras 2011). Mirror neuron research has reignited interest in the concept of kinesthetic empathy that was originally developed through aesthetics. Both of these are discussed further here and are recurring issues in the chapters contained within this book.   This book contains chapters engaging with kinesthetic empathy in diverse contexts: dance, film, theatre, music, sport, photography, therapy, applied and participatory performance and interactive environments. The disciplinary perspectives are varied, as are the methodological approaches, with many of the authors very consciously engaging with innovative interdisciplinary and cross-methodological research. And, moreover, the material in this book is only a sample of what could be presented as current research into kinesthetic empathy, in what appears to be an expanding field. We feel comfortable, therefore, in stating Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices that kinesthetic empathy is a key interdisciplinary concept in our understanding of social interaction and communication in creative and cultural practices ranging from art through entertainment and sport to physical therapies. In presenting work carried out by scholars from different disciplines and with contrasting methodological approaches, we are inviting the reader to venture across disciplinary boundaries and to develop new understandings and insights into the cultural and embodied phenomenon of kinesthetic empathy in its diverse manifestations. We have divided the book into five parts, each introduced by an editorial commentary that discusses and makes connections between the different methodologies and perspectives presented. This general introduction to the book as a whole will place kinesthetic empathy in context and explore some of the reasons for its current significance.   Kinesthetic empathy in context For all its currency, the concept of kinesthetic empathy remains elusive, and its definitions problematic. Or perhaps more accurately it is not the definitions themselves that are problematic, but rather agreement on the implications of those definitions for the concept itself. Indeed, for us as researchers and editors many questions have recurred as we have grappled with the term over the last few years, including: how far might kinesthetic empathy be stretched as a concept; how to recognise it when you see it; what are the relationships between arts-based and neurological definitions; and what is the relationship between cognitive and affective understandings or experiences of kinesthetic empathy.   In terms of definitions it is worth first briefly isolating the two terms within kinesthetic empathy. Broadly speaking ‘kinesthesia’ can be understood to refer to sensations of movement and position. It has a complex relationship with proprioception, in that these concepts are described and worked with differently by scholars from different disciplinary and epistemological standpoints. (See, for instance, Gallagher 2005; Gallagher and Zahavi 2008; Noland 2009; Sheets-Johnstone 2011.) Sometimes kinesthesia and proprioception are used interchangeably, or one is subsumed into the other. For some, proprioception is defined as the sensing of one’s own position and movement stimuli from within the body, through sense receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons and inner ear, as distinct from exteroception, the detection of environmental events through receptors in the eyes, ears and skin. However as Jeffrey Longstaff has pointed out, the inner/outer distinction is not always clear cut. For instance, receptors in the skin fulfil both functions (Longstaff 1996). Kinesthesia is informed by senses such as vision and hearing as well as internal sensations of muscle tension and body position (Reynolds 2007: 185). It is embedded in a network of sensory modalities including hearing and touch, which have also been implicated in the mirror neuron system (Keysers et al. 2004; Gazzola et al. 2006). As well as mirror neuron research, this connects with current interest in perception as active and involving interrelation between different senses. Influences here are interdisciplinary, embracing discourses drawn from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception (Merleau-Ponty 1962), James 18 Introduction Gibson’s ecological approach to visual perception (Gibson 1966), neuroscience (Berthoz 2000; Noë 2004) and affect (Massumi 2002). The term ‘Einfϋhlung’, translated into English as ‘empathy’ by Edward Titchener in 1909, was first used in its modern sense of projecting oneself into the object of contemplation by Robert Vischer (1872) and was later promoted by Theodor Lipps in his writings on aesthetic experience (Lipps 1920, 1923). As discussed by several authors in this book, empathy can also concern relationship to objects rather than exclusively intersubjective relationships with other people. In Vischer’s and Lipps’ writings on aesthetics, kinesthetic sensation was considered an intrinsic part of empathy.  Although kinesthetic empathy was discussed in relation to aesthetic experience generally, including the visual arts (Worringer 1908), the concept took on particular prominence in relation to dance and the aesthetics of movement. Indeed, with John Martin, the dance critic who had a formative influence in defining the parameters of American modern dance in the 1930s, it became the cornerstone of a new dance genre, defining the relationship between dancer and spectator. Martin cited Lipps and used the terms ‘inner mimicry’ and ‘kinesthetic sympathy’ to refer to spectators’ muscular and emotional responses to watching dancers (1939: 49; 1936: 117). He argued that inner mimicry of dance movement had a physiological dimension, involving movement memory, anticipation and associated changes in physiological states. Controversially, he also proposed that inner mimicry of a dancer’s movement allowed spectators direct access to dancers’ feelings: ‘It is the dancer’s whole function to lead us into imitating his actions with our faculty for inner mimicry in order that we may experience his feelings’ (Martin 1939: 53).  There are some parallels here with the idea that mirror neuron activity enables us to experience others’ thoughts and feelings through simulation. First discovered in macaque monkeys, the so-called mirror neurons are activated during performance of actions and also during observation of actions performed by another (Di Pellegrino et al. 1992; Gallese et al. 1996). Mirror neurons are special cells in the monkey brain that present the same pattern of activity when the monkey performs a specific action (e.g. grasping a peanut) and when it merely sees another animal performing the same action. Subsequent studies aimed to show the existence of a similar mirror system for gesture recognition in humans (e.g. Rizzolatti and Arbib 1998). A range of evidence indicates that such neurons also exist in the human brain and that ‘the mirror mechanism . . . unifies action production and action observation, allowing the understanding of the actions of others from the inside’ (Rizzolatti and Sinigaglia 2010). It has been posited that mirror neuron mechanisms are involved in the capacity to share emotions and sensations with others by ‘activating the observer’s own neural substrates for the corresponding state’ or providing ‘shared affective neuronal networks’ (Preston et al. 2007; de Vignemont and Singer 2006). Neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese describes embodied simulation as ‘the functional mechanism underpinning Einfühlung’ (Gallese 2008: 776), and argues that it can lead to a sharing of affective states. The observer’s ‘embodied simulation’ produces a ‘body state shared by observer and observed’ (Gallese 2008: 771). 19

Author Dee Reynolds and Matthew Reason Isbn 9781841504919 File size 4.25MB Year 2012 Pages 334 Language English File format PDF Category Art Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare A key interdisciplinary concept in our understanding of social interaction across creative and cultural practices, kinesthetic empathy describes the ability to experience empathy merely by observing the movements of another human being. Encouraging readers to sidestep the methodological and disciplinary boundaries associated with the arts and sciences, Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices offers innovative and critical perspectives on topics ranging from art to sport, film to physical therapy.     Download (4.25MB) Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to Art European Cinema and Television The Emergence of Film Culture Culture Crash: The Killing Of The Creative Class Reading Chinese Transnationalisms: Society, Literature, Film Load more posts

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