Accepted paper:

Skilled visions


Cristina Grasseni (Utrecht University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

This paper underlies the social and corporeal dimensions of the ways people actually use their eyes, situating vision in a scenario of everyday skilled activities. Consequently, it reconsiders the critique of visualism with the aim of pursuing a rehabilitation of vision. There is no "vision" as such but there are professional, aesthetic, ecstatic, sensual and erotic exercises of vision as a skilled and highly social activity. The social, political and technical relevance of visual training is witnessed not only in professional realms such as scientific and medical practice; the notion of skilled visions, in the plural, refers to the locality and plurality of embodied visual practice in relation the role of gestuality, of apprenticeship and of social roles. It is suggested that visual anthropology considers new analytic practices to develop an "anthropology of vision", which goes beyond phenomenology and reflexivity to reconsider the social and material constitution of vision as part of an ecology of practice. These include, amongst the examples I wish to quote (from my own work as well as that of other anthropologists and professionals of other disciplines): an analysis of cultural movements as proposed in cultural kinesics (Carpitella, Putti); the development of "art-kits", ie "activators" of awareness as to the ways in which we look at contemporary art installations; apprenticeship in different kinds of "professional vision" (Goodwin, Grasseni).

panel W068
Corporeal vision