The Filters through which We Live: Representing the Emotional Self in Digital Media

In an era of networked individualism, a prolificacy of online images necessitates of us a visual literacy. In what way do emotions encode the aesthetics of digital media? To what extent does cultural learning influence the social expression of these emotion states? How do our bodies and their interaction with the environment inform how we image the feeling of emotion? Probing the interaction between emotional processes (with which we perceive, engage, and regulate our experience of self) and photo-editing software (through which we frame, appraise, and communicate our imaging for self), Devon Schiller curates renditions of a kiss on the computer desktop that is my canvas. Crafting a multimodal visual inquiry (screenshots and textual witness), Shiller employs cultural analysis informed by the paradigm of mind science to investigate this reciprocity between the internal character of emotion (its biological causality, environmental induction, and inwardly-directed aesthetic re-presentation) and the external exhibition of these activation states (bodily posture, social valuation, and mimetic expression). With neuroimaging and the science of emotion inspiring an evolving art history, Schiller demonstrates how digital art may advance a critical awareness of emotion and its imaging in society.

Connecting in Multiple Non-linear Ways: Aesthetic Awareness on the Fireground

Western societies are increasingly designed and negotiated with the expectation that participants will intuitively negotiate new and uncertain terrain without "standard operating guidelines," but rather feelingful impressions and expectancies. For example, websites are evaluated on their "intuitive" design—meaning the degree to which the first-time viewer can move around the site without having to read a help menu or follow instructions. This is the age of the networked society. The ideas of the positivist understanding of rationality, logic, objectivity, and emotionless deduction have been superseded in academic theoretical discussions, but this is not as immediately evident in the time-pressured arena in which the emergency services operate. Firefighting has predominantly been defined in terms of technical and pragmatic procedures, policies, and guidelines. There is very little written on firefighting with respect to training aesthetic judgment and recognising its importance in the decision making process. Through an exploration of one incident, the “Clothing Factory Fire,” I connect the work of an artist to the work of decision making in time pressured emergencies, using the connecting thread of the non-verbal appraisal of a scene. The implication is that, for artists and emergency service practitioners alike, there is not enough time to make verbal judgments. Emergency service practitioners see in “black and white” and act immediately, paradoxically relying on an aesthetic framework which reflects that of an artist.

Social Interaction in the Art Museum: Connecting to Each Other and the Exhibits

A visit to an art institution is expected to require visitors displaying certain etiquette and adopting certain social conventions. For example, the architecture of the building and the physical context of the galleries as well as the spatial arrangement and the gilded framing of the exhibits seem to raise certain expectations while informing and shaping visitors' decorum. Nevertheless, visiting a museum is also a social event with the majority of visitors arriving as part of a group. Following Goffman's dramaturgy and frame analysis theory, this article draws upon videotaped fragments of visitors at least in dyads at the Courtauld Gallery, London, UK, in order to explore their embodied visiting and viewing practices. By focusing on the ways visitors connect with the collection as well as socially share parts of their experience with each other, this article aims at challenging the notion of the visitor being static and the museum experience being ocular centric.