The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

10. Enchanted Sight/Site: An Esoteric Aesthetics of Image and Experience

The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate - Peik Ingman

Jay Johnston [+-]
University of Sydney
Jay Johnston is an interdisciplinary scholar (religious studies, art history, philosophy, gender studies, Norse and Scottish studies) who investigates ritual and its use in identity formation, healing practice and cultural exchange. She is particularly interested in Late Antiquity; pre-1400 Scottish and Norse cultures; complementary and alternative medicine and its historical precedents; and human-animal-environment relations. Her publications include Religion and the Subtle Body in Asia and the West (ed. with G. Samuel), Routledge 2013. She is Chief Investigator on “The Function of Images in Magical Papyri and Artefacts of Ritual Power from Late Antiquity”, a project funded by the Australian Research Council (2012–2015).

Description

This chapter proposes an “esoteric aesthetics” as enabling a rethinking and reformulation of aesthetic relations that distinctly takes into account varieties of material agency. It takes seriously the question of how we are to understand aesthetic engagement if we are not interacting with purely empirical material. This approach has potentially radical implications for the concept of subjectivity, artistic agency and interpretations of the role of image or object and the viewer. Therefore, the argument draws together several academic disciplines: in particular, post-structural philosophy, Western art historical discourse and the Western esoteric tradition. The objects selected for analysis are an image found in an early Coptic magical handbook (p. 12 of P. Macq. I, c. VIIth century CE) and Crow Stone (Dumfriesshire, April 1998), a work by the contemporary artist Andy Goldsworthy. Through analysis of these examples, this chapter argues that an esoteric aesthetics requires not only attention to the possible agency of image or object, but also attention to one’s own embodied experience and the multiple frameworks through which meaning is made.

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Citation

Johnston, Jay. 10. Enchanted Sight/Site: An Esoteric Aesthetics of Image and Experience. The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization - Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 207-230 Dec 2016. ISBN 9781781794753. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30135. Date accessed: 23 Sep 2017 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30135. Dec 2016

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