Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 17 (2019)
Feet, Lines, Weather, Labyrinth: The Haptic Engagement as a Suggestion for an Ecological Aesthetics
In this paper I present a philosophical approach stemming from the general framework of ecological aesthetics, specifically defined here as a perceptual attitude that entails intimacy, engagement, participation, and care. In order to develop this approach, I lean on some authors that I find sympathetic to my view; particularly important are John Dewey, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Arnold Berleant and Tim Ingold. Following Ingold, I propose a revaluation of what he calls “feet” to highlight the active and mobile nature of perception and a consideration for an ontology of living beings as a fluid meshwork composed by lines. I then propose to call ‘haptic perception’ an inter- and trans-sensorial perceptual approach, according to which the world we constantly move along is objectless, a meshwork continuously made of fluid interwoven lines. To understand this, we need to nurture an aesthetic approach free from the logic of the paradigm consisting of subject/object and of a sheer distinction between ontology and epistemology in favor of a radical relationalism.