Madeline Schwartzman- See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception

Madeline Schwartzman

Black Dog, ISBN: 9781907317293, 192 pages, 2011, English
Beyond the abundance of discourses concerned with our becoming more like cyborgs (the extending of our abilities through various technological means and having our perceptive systems reprogrammed by the constant use of screens, headphones and tactile interfaces), there is a certain matter of fact: we are perceiving our bodies in a radically different way to how we were 30 (or more) years ago. This book effectively collects sensory-based projects that bring humans into contact with objects, centering on bodies and their whole communicative universe. It includes projects (beginning in the sixties) that are organized into five sections: Reframers (shifts in everyday objects and functions), Tools (mostly enhancements), Environments (sensorially affecting the space surrounding us), Mediators (agents between different entities), Speculations (fringe ideas questioning the status quo). Maybe some of these can fall into the so-called post-humanism category, but the selection defines a more specific category of works that simultaneously affect our senses and unconsciously and choreographically interfere with our minds. This is a “transversal book” which doesn’t make distinctions between artists, designers and performers, and follows its own coherent logic of assembling. The collection is impressive in the way that it exposes its hidden structure, in a manner the author calls “the architecture of the senses.”