Abstract- Karl Hansson

(full paper) http://hdl.handle.net/10002/457

Haptic Connections - On Hapticality and the History of Visual Media

This paper will discuss the relationship between media history and the senses, with special attention to the concept of the haptic. The coming of cinema as well as the coming of digital media some hundred years later seem to be accompanied by an intensification and rearticulation of the role of the senses in cinematic and cultural experience. Why is this so and what may a closer look at the senses in the history of visual media have to tell us about the period-building strategies and methodologies of art and media history?
Why for example is the philosophical work of Henri Bergson often used when discussing the aesthetic and temporal experience of cinema, as well as when discussing the bodily experience of digital media? Why is there a focus on sensorial experience in late 19th century as well as in late 20th century? How dependent are the categories of modernity and postmodernity on an implicit (or sometimes explicit) periodization of the senses? May hapticality be understood as a marker of transitional periods (in relation to media change)?
This paper will set out to investigate these questions in relation to recent film and media theory and in so doing contribute to both the debate concerning "modernity/postmodernity" and to a possible new framework for understanding the connections between, film, art, and media history. May hapticality be used as one way to bridge the divide between art and media history as well as between artistic work and scientific research?
I will build the paper on some art historical connections regarding the sense of touch (for example Alois Riegl’s distinction between the optic and the haptic), but also on recent developments in media theory by for example Laura U. Marks and Mark B. N. Hansen. A development of the theoretical work on haptic visuality may contribute to our understanding of large parts of the visual flow of images that today inhabits the gallery space, but also of visual culture in a broader sense (where elements of a haptic visuality seem to be important for example in many commercial films and music