The conscious body: an interdisciplinary dialogue.


Paris 8 5-7 October 2012, University Paris VIII

Cognitive neuroscientists and dance makers share perspectives on conscious perception and self awareness


The irrational body: Philippe Ramette’s installations and cognitive neuroscience (Oral presentation)

Joachim Forget and Sebastian Dieguez

It has long been known that our perception of verticality is highly constrained by gravity. Recent studies have also highlighted the role of an internal model of gravity, resulting from the multisensory integration of somatosensory, vestibular and visual signals, for our sense of self-location, a key component of bodily self-consciousness. Further, gravity, visual perspective and body orientation in space have been shown to influence the perception of static and moving objects, including human bodies. Here we draw parallels between this body of knowledge and the work of French plastician Philippe Ramette. His series “Expérimentations irrationnelles” vividly and playfully illustrate visuo-vestibular conflicts by using elaborate and ambiguous displays of his own body in impossible situations, a technique he calls “visual quiproquo”. We propose that his work uncovers the links between basic perceptual processes underlying bodily self-consciousness and affective experiences of the uncanny involving on the one hand humor and irony, and on the other hand anxiety and fear. We develop this idea by presenting selected works of Ramette, linking them to recent work in cognitive neuroscience and discussions conducted with the artist.

Balcon 2

Philippe Ramette
Balcon 2 (Hong-Kong), 2001
Photographie couleur
150 x 120 cm
Édition de 5 + 3 EA
© Marc Domage
Courtesy Galerie Xippas



Video of my conference available here:   Replay it!