Sunday, October 07, 2012


Leviathan  a film by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
(From Jim Hoberman)

The Sensory Ethnography Lab
The Sensory Ethnography Lab (SEL) at Harvard supports innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography that deploy original media practices to explore the bodily praxis and affective fabric of human and animal existence, and the aesthetics and ontology of the natural world. Harnessing perspectives drawn from the arts, the human sciences, and the humanities, works produced in the SEL encourage attention to the many dimensions of life and the world that may only with difficulty be rendered with words alone.

Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, the SEL provides an academic and institutional context for the development of creative work and research that is itself constitutively visual or acoustic — conducted through audiovisual media rather than purely verbal sign systems — and which may thus complement the human sciences’ and humanities’ traditionally exclusive reliance on the written word. It opposes the conventions of visual anthropology that mimic the discursive inclinations of its mother discipline, those of documentary that mimic those of broadcast journalism, and those of art that are not deeply infused with the real.
The language of science imposed on art; the rhetoric of objectivity to justify subjectivity; similar to but even more disjunctive than the oxymoronic "experimental philosophy" in relation to experimental psychology; more, and once again, the language of the Holy Roman Church to justify its opposite.  The language is ridiculous, the science is nonexistent, the romanticism transparent, but in the end, finally (and its been a long process) the art is real.

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