Tuesday, October 6, 2015
I found Ed Vessel's field of research to be very interesting, though I had a hard time understanding and internalizing its significance. It's interesting to know what parts of the brain are active and connected when a person is "moved" by a piece of art and has an aesthetic experience. However, other than the information about the brain, the conclusions drawn from the experiments seem obvious. Individuals can share preferences and appreciation for the same image or types of images while simultaneously harboring vastly different opinions about others. These differences of opinion are due to each individual's unique analysis of the meaning of a piece, which is colored by his or her life experiences. This seems to be at least part of what Ed Vessel is asserting, which for me really just reaffirms what both artists and viewers of art already implicitly understand about how we subjectively perceive images. As Marshall McLuhan said, "We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future." Our past experiences determine and influence what we experience in the present and future. Since no two individuals share the same past, differences in preference driven by semantic content of images should come as no surprise.