The Illuminated Self: Transcendent and Epiphanic States in the Encompassing Aesthetic Environment

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Presentation Title:

  • The Illuminated Self: Transcendent and Epiphanic States in the Encompassing Aesthetic Environment

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Abstract:

  • The paper examines the ‘conversion experience’, transformational life experiences defined by a sense of universality and communion, resulting in a catharsis that can produce profound life-changing alterations in perception and consciousness. Mondrian identified this as a ‘complete break with optical vision’[1]. The paper considers the construction of this affect, through the framework of aesthetics, employing moving image, virtual reality, installation, and encompassing artworks as well as a body of related artworks as examples.

    There is the potential within emerging technologies to heighten the ‘conversion experience’ within spatial environments, to drive or overwhelm the emotional state through multi-sensory strategies in order to provoke an ‘illuminated’ state, a slipping of the bonds of classically-constructed perception through an emotional and sensory provocation. The paper argues that the encompassing or installation environment may be strategically modelled to initiate such states. The research is relevant to the efficacy of any encompassing setting including virtual reality environments.

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