8 October 2018
8 October 2018
N212, de Havilland Campus
A public talk on sculpture and philosophy with Simeon Nelson, Professor of Sculpture, from the School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire. There will be refreshments from 3:30pm, followed by a talk and time for questions and discussion.
Professor Nelson will discuss how his sculpture embodies a processual vision of the world - recombining manifold relationships between things - seeing a ‘thing’ as constituted by its process of becoming and relationship to other things.
He will highlight the influence of the process/organismic philosophy of A. N. Whitehead and his notions of pan-experientialism and critique of simple location, the Radical Empiricism of William James in which relations between things are as real and prominent as the things themselves including the observer, and other significant sources and inspirations including phenomenology, cybernetics and complex systems. These perspectives embrace the world, its relations, its process of becoming and crucially one’s own being in that same world simultaneously. All elements, however one divides them up for convenience and conceptual clarity, subject and object, mind and matter are parts of a greater whole and are of the same stuff. Object needs subject in order to be so, and subject needs object in order to be so, both are abstractions distilled from the flux of experience. He will also touch on variations on this worldview found in Neo-Platonism, Taoism and animism.
Process Philosophy must be seen in relation to other schemas so as not to commit the naturalistic fallacy. Prof Nelson is inspired by its explanatory power but is also attracted to atomism as a granular aesthetic and what he speaks of as an interface between allopoiesis and autopoiesis - the self-regulating governor of a steam engine.
He will conclude with a discussion of creative limitation and freedom - the notion that limitation and partiality are necessary for meaning while freedom - a featureless hierarchy of infinite possibility imprisons the imagination. A bifurcated or otherwise striated topology gives much better grit: it is the very limitations of symbol, process or material that bestows power.
To book contact Finlay Malcolm on firstname.lastname@example.org.