Below is an extract from an essay I wrote some time ago that discussed the work of landscape artist Richard Long;
The environment itself may be linked to the way in which we think about our bodies. Corporeal presence may be inferred by the space around us. The ecological approach to visual perception expounded by the theorist Jerome Gibson suggests that material surfaces in the environment proffer affordances of usage;
…[A]n affordance is neither an objective property nor a subjective property; or it is both if you like. An affordance cuts across the dichotomy of subjective-objective and helps us to understand its inadequacy. It is equally a fact of the environment and a fact of behaviour. It is both physical and psychical, yet neither. An affordance points both ways, to the environment and to the observer. Therefore to “perceive the world is to coperceive oneself.” (Gibson, 1979:129)
The notion of affordances encapsulates the slippery interpenetration between subjective and objective perception. In an active perception of a rural environment such as looking at the undulation of a hill, a universal recognition and a relative appropriation of the environment may be at play. The gradient of the hill itself affords a certain kind of bodily movement, perhaps a mental rendition of stretch and fluid gestures. However we might begin to question the notion of fully coperceiving oneself through the mediator of external cues.
I have included it to remind me of the background of my current work around domestic technology.
These tests within the home are looking to readdress the background of the technology in question (in this case television, watched whilst seated). They are starting to reevaluate the generative nature of technological experiences.j My body interacts with the literal background of my viewing experience that normally goes unnoticed. It tests the material physically.
This test is ‘absurd’ but knowingly so.
They are influenced by the notion of moments;
The movement of the body is challenged by cultural trends. Henri Lefebvre’s theory of moments, “significant times when existing orthodoxies are open to challenge…” (Elden, 2004:X) provides an interesting attack on the wider cultural processes that affect the private rhythms of the body. For Lefebvre, moments are those that escape the legitimising territory of capitalism. Personal praxis that disrupts the modality of power would constitute a moment, Lefebvre describes a moment as other to the production of goods and services and consumption. Acts such as taking a walk ‘for a walk’s sake’ would constitute a moment, whereas the agent’s travel to work via a shopping mall would conversely not.