From a Cartographic Glance to Synchronistic Experiences

  • Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


My contribution is based on the hypothesis that the “crisis of space”, which has been circulating in discussions for some time now, is not necessarily a crisis of perception theory insofar as current theories on the fine arts are still conceptualized in a largely static manner. Art, as opposed to discourse, is still far from having attained the level Merleau-Ponty had hoped for, a level on which the recipient shifts from “onlooker” to “experiencer” and, contrary to analytical animistic thought, thus becomes able to adopt a different, more direct, mature and holistic view of the “manifest world”. A critical reading of L’oeil cartographique de l’art,a book produced by the French philosopher and cultural theorist Christine Buci-Glucksmann in 1996, provides the basis for verifying this hypothesis. I will take a particularly close look at her text on Robert Smithson’s entropic gaze. The theory of a “cartographic gaze” that Buci-Glucksmann develops here is undoubtedly a sophisticated approach that has extensive integrative dynamics and provides an interesting approach also to interpreting developments in art during the second half of the 20th century. This approach also affords an extensive overview of historical developments in modern European visual perception from the Renaissance until today. Through designating the “cartographic gaze” as the central concept in her theory, Buci-Glucksmann introduces a structural method of interpretation, which situates the perception of art at the interface between fixation and motion, standstill and travel. She distinguishes between cartographies in art from a general cartography of art. Hence, questions arise regarding the critique of terms and categories as introduced by Buci-Glucksmann and in relation to their re-evaluation or re-definition under the consideration of a more comprehensive dynamics of perception.


French Philosopher Central Perspective Comprehensive Dynamic Synchronistic Experience Dutch Painting 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Academy of Fine Arts ViennaAustria

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