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Carnal Aesthetics: Transgressive Imagery and Feminist Politics

Carnal Aesthetics: Transgressive Imagery and Feminist Politics

Edited by: Marta Zarzycka, Bettina Papenburg

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Art today is an increasingly multifaceted phenomenon,encompassing transgressive works that intervene in war and ecological disasters, in inequalities and revolutionary changes in technology.Carnal Aesthetics is a fascinating new examination of this aspect of contemporary visual culture. Employing recent theories of transgressive body imagery,trauma, affect and sensation,it provides a fresh look at the meeting point between the politics of representation and the politics of perception through the prismatic lens of feminist theory. Acclaimed scholars analyse a wide range of seminal case studies coming from different media:digital photography,painting,video,film and multimedia art. They explore here a number of transgressive movements that significantly reconfigure the relationship between the body and the image. Unlike other books on the complex relationship between politics and aesthetics,Carnal Aesthetics seeks to provide a novel approach to art and culture by challenging the primacy of vision and by injecting an intersectional perspective into the fields of visual studies,film and media studies,as well as trauma studies.

It is a significant contribution across these dynamic fields of exploration for scholars who deal with the socio-political nature of contemporary visual culture in their work.

Table of Contents

Bettina Papenburg and Marta Zarzycka


Trauma, Time and Painting: Bracha Ettinger and the Matrixial Aesthetic
Griselda Pollock

Showing Sounds: Listening to War Photographs
Marta Zarzycka

Another Regard
Erin Manning


Uneasy Bodies: Affect, Embodied Perception and Contemporary Fashion Photography
Eugénie Shinkle

Force of Affects, Weight of Histories in Love is a Treasure
Anu Koivunen

Atmospheric Affects
Jill Bennett


The Dream Olfactory: On Making Scents of Cinema
Vivian Sobchack

Thinking Multisensory Culture
Laura U. Marks

Grotesque Sensations: Carnivalising the Sensorium in the Art of Wangechi Mutu
Bettina Papenburg


Tactile Visions: From Embodied to Encoded Love
Martine Beugnet

Art as Circuit Breaker: Surveillance Screens and Powers of Affect
Patricia Pisters

Shattered Images and Desiring Matter
A Dialogue between Hito Steyerl and Domitilla Olivieri

Mucosal Monsters
Patricia MacCormack

Author Info

Bettina Papenburg and Marta Zarzycka are both Assistant Professors at the Graduate Gender Programme in the Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.


'... They show how open the discussions still are as to how to write the aesthetic, affective event in both a descriptive and a transformative way. It’s a document of an exciting, transitional time.'
Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago, author of Cruel Optimism

'This exciting, important collection offers ethical, politically urgent possibilities for multiple feminist engagements with artistic and cultural practices, suggesting 'alternative sensorial modalities' – hearing, smell, feeling, and touch – through which to reconfigure aesthetic encounters.’
Jill Dolan, Princeton University, author of Utopia in Performance and The Feminist Spectator as Critic

'Carnal Aesthetics is a must have for anyone interested in phenomenological issues of identification, visuality, affect, meaning, and value in visual culture, the politics of art, and the ethics of interpretation.'
Amelia Jones, McGill University, author of Seeing Differently

'Carnal Aesthetics contains a great number of exciting essays by a felicitous mix of established and emerging scholars. It offers a palette of visions and of artworks worth collecting like pearls that, strung together, open up the domain of art to approaches closer to experience than to past conventions.'
Mieke Bal, cultural analyst and video artist, University of Amsterdam

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: International Library of Visual Culture

ISBN: 9781780760131
Publication Date: 18 Dec 2012
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 15 integrated bw illustrations

ISBN: 9781780760124
Publication Date: 18 Dec 2012
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 15 integrated bw illustrations

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