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Double Acts: Oscillating Between Optical and Haptic Visuality in a Digital Age

Walsh, Maria and Throp, Mo (2020) Double Acts: Oscillating Between Optical and Haptic Visuality in a Digital Age. In: Revisiting the Gaze The Fashioned Body and the Politics of Looking. Bloomsbury Visual Arts, London and New York. ISBN 9781350154230

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Walsh, Maria and Throp, Mo

In ‘Double Acts: Oscillating Between Optical and Haptic Visuality’, a co-written chapter for Revisiting the Gaze: The Fashioned Body and the Politics of Looking, my colleague Dr. Mo Throp and I explore the dynamic between optical and haptic visuality in relation to digital art practices by female artists. Taking our cue from Laura Mulvey’ s 1975 essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ and from the phenomenon of the first cam girl ‘lifecaster’ Jennifer Ringley, we construct a dialogue that reflects on questions such as: how is female subjectivity and agency structured beyond the constraints of optical visuality; how might feminist artists’ interventions enabled by digital technology open up new kinds of relations between female subjects and their viewers; how can the female subject’s desire for recognition avoid objectification? In considering how artists’ works might strategically disrupt this structure of recognition, we deploy the feminist theorising of philosopher Elizabeth Grosz that questions the worth of the subject/object structure of desire elaborated by Mulvey after Freud and Lacan. Grosz challenges us to ask: why wait to be recognised by this system of desire rather than making something new which will enable us to recognise ourselves on our own terms? We trace the possibilities and dilemmas inherent in this challenge by engaging with artists who use their own body, or images of the body, to simultaneously incite and repel the look. Our case studies are works by artists such as Laurel Nakadate, Ann Hirsch and Lucy Clout. We propose that these artists’ performative use of the gaze and technological framings of the female body resist fetishistic objectification and generate new spectatorial relations that productively oscillate between optical and haptic visual pleasure.

Official Website: https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/revisiting-the-gaze-9781350154230/
Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: female gaze, haptic visuality, artists' moving image
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Research Projects > Subjectivity and Feminisms
Date: 23 July 2020
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2020 10:50
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 13:37
Item ID: 15357
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/15357

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