To Be Seen & Unseen

To ​Be ​Seen ​& Un​seen ​is ​an attempt to ​travel ​beyond ​the ​linguistic barriers ​and ​national ​boundaries. It uses ​artistic ​expression ​and intercultural ​dialogue ​to ​overcome ​the ​prejudices ​and ​limitations ​of ​language ​and ​the ​ignorance ​of ​the other.  ​In ​this context ​the ​walk ​also ​functions ​as ​a ​performative ​mediation ​where ​dialogue ​and ​exchange ​generate ​the marking ​of ​a ​phenomenological ​path. ​Now, ​perhaps ​more ​than ​ever, ​there ​is ​a ​need ​for ​”movement, ​sensation, ​and ​qualities ​of ​experience” ​to ​be put ​back ​into ​our ​understanding ​of ​embodiment. ​Contemporary ​society ​comprehends ​bodies, ​and ​by extension ​the ​world, ​almost ​exclusively ​through ​linguistic ​and ​visual ​apprehension. ​Bodies ​are ​defined ​by their ​images, ​their ​symbols, ​what ​they ​look ​like ​and ​how ​we ​write ​and ​talk ​about ​them. To ​Be ​Seen ​& Un​seen, “engages ​with ​continuity,” ​to ​encourage ​a ​processual ​and ​active ​approach ​to ​embodied ​experience. ​With this ​walking performance ​I ​propose ​to ​let ​our ​theories ​”feel” ​again ​by ​extending ​Husserl’s ​account ​of ​the ​lived ​body ​(as opposed ​to ​the ​physical ​body), ​and ​drawing ​from ​the ​notions ​Merleau-Ponty ​resisted ​regarding ​the traditional ​Cartesian ​separation ​of ​mind ​and ​body. ​For ​the ​body ​image ​is ​neither ​in ​the ​mental ​realm ​nor in ​the ​mechanical-physical ​realm. ​Rather, ​my ​body ​is, ​as ​it ​were, ​me ​in ​my ​engaged ​action ​with ​things ​I perceive ​including ​other ​people. ​Merleau-Ponty ​succinctly ​captures ​his ​embodied, ​existential ​form ​of phenomenology, ​writing: Insofar ​as, ​when ​I ​reflect ​on ​the ​essence ​of ​subjectivity, ​I ​find ​it ​bound ​up ​with ​that ​of ​the ​body ​and that ​of ​the ​world, ​this ​is ​because ​my ​existence ​as ​subjectivity ​[= ​consciousness] ​is ​merely ​one ​with ​my existence ​as ​a ​body ​and ​with ​the ​existence ​of ​the ​world, ​and ​because ​the ​subject ​that ​I ​am, ​when taken ​concretely, ​is ​inseparable ​from ​this ​body ​and ​this ​world. ​[408]

Merleau-Ponty, M., 2012, Phenomenology of Perception, Trans. Donald A. Landes. London and New York: Routledge. Prior translation, 1996, Phenomenology of Perception, Trans. Colin Smith. London and New York: Routledge. From the French original of 1945.

Photography by Heliya Hagh