Blow-up: Photography, Cinema and the Brain


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Warren Neidich & Norman Bryson

Hardcover | 19 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm | 192 pp

DAP | 2003 | 9781891024801

In Blow-Up, a collection of essays that tackle aesthetics from the angle of neuroscience, Warren Neidich proposes a different and wholly original paradigm for thinking through cultural history and the philosophy of the human subject.

Across the theoretical landscape that Neidich describes, even familiar monuments from the history of art, architecture, philosophy and aesthetics appear strange and disorienting, because the starting point of the primary and secondary repertoires (the nervous system and the pathways of connection built up through interaction between the brain and the outside world) is so totally unexpected. Crucial to Neidich's narrative is the idea that, in modernity, the technologies that have evolved in the sphere of visual communication have come to operate on the subject with particular vehemence, not only in the realm of meaning but in their determining influence on the primary habits and dispositions of experience.

Photography, cinema, television, the internet--as the forces of spectacle gain ever-wider currency in a rapidly globalizing world, those cultural forms that emerge as dominant in the competition for structuring the pathways of consciousness will annex and colonize more and more of the subject's interior life, worldwide. But Neidich suggests that the subject of culture has the ability to remap itself, rewire itself, and assume forms so creative and protean that it will always outrun the forces that seek to limit its plasticity-even trauma and amputation cannot irreversibly damage the neural body.

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