Elkins asks about objects that are too violent, too sexually charged, or too beautiful to look at directly. When we see a naked body, we either stare lasciviously or. For the art historian James Elkins, there is no such thing as “just looking. inconsistent, and undependable, he says in The Object Stares Back. In Elkins’s view, even the simplest, most reductive statement that can be made about seeing, “the beholder looks at the object,” is charged with.

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James Elkins The Object Stares Back | Philosophy

Each jamew has its character, and even books I know very well also have this kind of wordless flavor. Apr 20, Kevin rated it really liked it Shelves: Sometimes he is successful, such as in his discussions of animals’ protective camouflage. Film and its shaping of vision are mentioned only in passing.

Slog through that and you’ll be deep in a book you’ll be talking to your smartest friends about! The University of Melbourne Library. Some chapters were 5 stars and others were 1 star, so I gave it an average rating.

If you own the book and are not borrowing it, I suggest you do the same. It is difficult to understand. Jan 19, Patricia rated it did not like it Shelves: We use cookies to give you the best possible experience.


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The object stares back : on the nature of seeing / James Elkins. – Version details – Trove

Philosopher Immanuel Levinas in arguing against the primacy of “being” in favor of ethics was once asked, “Attention to the other, can it be taught? Elkins is clear and Philosopher Immanuel Levinas in arguing against the primacy of “being” in favor of ethics was once asked, “Attention to the other, can it be taught? Please provide an email address. But each book still looks back in its own way, answering the rude names of my gaze, calling faintly to me out of the corner of my eye. The world jamss full of objects that catch our eye, and that seem to have eyes of their own.

He tends to cling jamss closely to his familiar tableaux morts, the unmoving, fixed images of paintings and photographs. This ability seems detached, efficient, and rational–as if the eyes were competent machines telling us everything about the world without distorting it in any way. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts.

View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Seeing is detached and efficient and rational. Physics is similarly slighted, notably quantum mechanics and its discovery th the very act of perception can influence the results of an experiment. This book was part of my visual communication and culture syllabus.


The Object Stares Back

Chadbourne Chair of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I took the liberty of underlining those parts. This might be a good complementry text for a level college course on a lot of things, but it wasen’t the phenomenology of vision or the neurological study of it I was hoping for. Elkins is clear and direct in his writing, and his arguments range far outside the field of art history and theory, moving quite effortlessly into psychology, philosophy, science, and metaphysics.

What the deconstructionists did for language, exposing its grave limitations and fallibilities, Elkins attempts to do for vision. Some of the most stimulating parts of the book for me were the discussion of the power of objects; the idea of the visual field as containing complex topographies that attract and repel a viewer’s attention; the inextricable connection between seeing and blindness; and, the centrality of the body and the face in human vision.

Laurens van der Post. He also coordinates the Stone Summer Theory Institute, a short term school on contemporary art history based at the School of states Art Institute of Chicago.

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