Read The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins Free Online
Book Title: The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing|
The author of the book: James Elkins
ISBN 13: 9780156004978
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 697 KB
Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: July 15th 1997
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1635 times
Reader ratings: 4.8
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I'm glad I read The Object Stares Back. It's beautifully but densely written and I confess I didn't work as hard at understanding the book as it merited. I decided to read it with the attitude that if I took away two or three ideas it would be worth my time. The book is about how we see, seeing as a selective act (for example when we walk into a room to actually see anything we have to not see everything around it), seeing as an aggressive act, as a reductive act. How people in different cultures see; a member of a traditional hunting culture would look at an area of forest and see all sorts of information about animal movements that would be unavailable to me.
As fascinating as this book is, there are times when I quibbled with the author's reading of certain acts. For example, he writes that something that catches your eye is an active participant in the act of your looking. I have trouble assigning agency in the absence of intention, particularly when you're talking about an inanimate object.
The book was full of fascinating tidbits of information. For example, I had no idea there was a condition called achromotopsia, an inability to see color. It's different from colorblindness, which just affects a person's ability to se red and green. People with achromotopsia can't see any colors. They don't even understand the concept of color.
A book well worth your time If you're remotely interested. But I do wish I had read it with a book group or a class to thrash out some of the ideas in conversation.
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Read information about the authorJames Elkins (1955 – present) is an art historian and art critic. He is E.C. Chadbourne Chair of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He also coordinates the Stone Summer Theory Institute, a short term school on contemporary art history based at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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