ASMR, Sensation, and Aesthetics
Working from Yuula Benivolski’s piece Page Turning, Crinkly Sounds – No Talking, the sensory phenomenon of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is explored as a reaction to the increasingly virtual ephemerality of the digital age. This digital ubiquity leads to a heightened desire for physical and tactile sensations in our interactions with primarily visual aesthetic media. With this hypothesis in mind, AMSR is used to examine the interplay between art and aesthetics and physical and cognitive sensation. The essay draws from key texts on aesthetics, discussing ASMR in relation to the Kantian dichotomy of the beautiful and the sublime; Heidegger and Nietzsche’s layered discussion of a physiology of art; Vattimo’s writing on affect and the Stoss of the artwork; and Deleuze’s meditations on non-narrative sensation. By pulling from these critical texts, key connections between the experience of artwork and the bodily senses are established in an attempt to better understand how different modes of sensory perception affect the viewers’ relationship to aesthetics.
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