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Light Art, Perception, and Sensation

Edensor, T (2015) Light Art, Perception, and Sensation. Senses & Society, 10. ISSN 1745-8927

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Abstract

In this article, I focus on how four artists working with light can reveal the different capacities of illumination and darkness in shaping human apprehension of the world. These artists, I contend, foreground the very particular human ways in which the visual system operates in making sense of the world, for their work explores the different ways in which we sense space at various scales, from the body to the landscape. In Kielder Forest, Northumberland, a Skyspace, created by James Turrell isolates the qualities of daylight and focuses attention on the impact of the sky’s light on the landscape. Carlos Cruz-Diez’sChromosaturation highlights the ocular perception and emotional experience of colour, while Olafur Eliasson’s Model for a Timeless Garden highlights the temporality of visual perception as well as the persistence of notions about the sublime to appreciation of landscape. Both works underscore the partialities of specifically human ways of perception. Finally, Tino Seghal’s This Variation investigates the impact of darkness on the perception of space and its potential for fostering conviviality and sociality.

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