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Sensory Fluidity: Dialogues of Imagination in Art

1 August 2012


How do artists share, translate, reveal their imagination by using different semiotic systems; how can the audience partake in this imagination receiving only images, words, notation, sounds? Starting from artwork of the novelist Italo Calvino and the composers Helmut Lachenmann and Gyorgy Kurtag, this article addresses the relation among imagination, perception, remembrance and expression. The ‘images’ used, be they visual, verbal, auditory or haptic, are much more than images. They concentrate in themselves layers of subjective and intersubjective perceptual, cognitive and emotive experiences. I will argue that imagination relies upon sensory fluidity. This allows us (1) to integrate sensorial experiences from different perceptual origins — synaesthesia, (2) to link past, present and future by way of sensorial and embodied patterns of remembrance — embodied sedimentation, and (3) to share intersubjective patterns of affect and effect, bridging idiosyncratic and universal human experiences.


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