Becky Nevin Berger

Aesthetic Subjectivity: Conduit between Subject- Object and Creativity- Knowledge


A notion of an ‘aesthetic subjectivity’ may be a useful in the understanding, practice and validation of creative based research. This notion emerged from a practice based examination of the traditional duality of subject and object. This model posits that the subject emerges from, and exists in, aesthetic continuum with the processes of embodiment and experiences of its environment. The idea of embodied consciousness has been recently validated by neuroscience; the idea that our sense of self extends socially has been endorsed by research presented by Semin, et al 2008. What happens when we formally construct this extended mode of subjectivity as a device of knowledge production? The knowledge produced from this basis of subjectivity is of a different nature to conventional knowledge. It uses a different method of inquiry and its inquiries extend beyond the objective environment, and into non-linear psycho-social-spiritual environments. ‘Aesthetic subjectivity’ is underpinned by the variables of bodily, cultural and environmental specificity. Artists have always drawn knowledge from the world using this mode. Using creative practice to examine the interrelation of synaesthesia, memory and imagination showed how subjectivity can be imprinted by social-sensory experience which leads to the creation of ‘aesthetic formations’. These are multi-lateral intersections of emotion, cognition and behaviour. ‘Aesthetic formations’ correlate to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of ‘corporeal schema’ and with the concept of ‘body maps’ postulated by Antonio Damasio. Neuroscience has produced profound insights into the embodied mind; an important opportunity exists for arts researchers to talk back to that science.

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Becky Nevin Berger:

Born in Albury NSW in 1980 Becky now lives in Warrnambool VIC with her partner and their three children. She has worked as an artist and community arts facilitator since 2001 and has been a partner in artist run galleries and enterprises. Becky has developed and delivered creative practice led programs for a broad range of demographics. Completing her Bachelor of Arts Honours in 2010 at Deakin University she is currently preparing a proposal to pursue a Higher Degree by Research in 2012. Using painting, sculpture, new media and spatial practice Becky has exhibited in solo, group and collaborative shows. Becky is concerned with how we imagine subjectivity and how this shapes our relationship with our environment. She is seeking to develop an understanding of how creative practice can produce health, social and research outcomes.