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Suspensions of Perception : Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture - Jonathan Crary

Suspensions of Perception

Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture

Paperback Published: 24th August 2001
ISBN: 9780262531993
Number Of Pages: 416
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Winner, 2000 Lionel Trilling Award given by Columbia College. "Suspensions of Perception" is a major historical study of human attention and its volatile role in modern Western culture. It argues that the ways in which we intently look at or listen to anything result from crucial changes in the nature of perception that can be traced back to the second half of the nineteenth century. Focusing on the period from about 1880 to 1905, Jonathan Crary examines the connections between the modernization of subjectivity and the dramatic expansion and industrialization of visual/auditory culture. At the core of his project is the paradoxical nature of modern attention, which was both a fundamental condition of individual freedom, creativity, and experience and a central element in the efficient functioning of economic and disciplinary institutions as well as the emerging spaces of mass consumption and spectacle. Crary approaches these issues through multiple analyses of single works by three key modernist painters--Manet, Seurat, and Cezanne--who each engaged in a singular confrontation with the disruptions, vacancies, and rifts within a perceptual field. Each in his own way discovered that sustained attentiveness, rather than fixing or securing the world, led to perceptual disintegration and loss of presence, and each used this discovery as the basis for a reinvention of representational practices. "Suspensions of Perception" decisively relocates the problem of aesthetic contemplation within a broader collective encounter with the unstable nature of perception--in psychology, philosophy, neurology, early cinema, and photography. In doing so, it provides a historical framework for understanding the current social crisis of attention amid the accelerating metamorphoses of our contemporary technological culture.

"This is a book of wide-ranging curiosity.... Crary's ability to navigate through a mind-boggling array of contextual agents is exceptional, even at times awe-inspiring." - John Kissick, New Art Examiner

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Modernity and the Problem of Attentionp. 11
1879: Unbinding Visionp. 81
1888: Illuminations of Disenchantmentp. 149
1900: Reinventing Synthesisp. 281
Epilogue 1907: Spellbound in Romep. 361
Bibliographyp. 371
Illustration Creditsp. 381
Indexp. 383
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262531993
ISBN-10: 0262531992
Series: October Books (Paperback)
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 24th August 2001
Publisher: AMITY PUB CO
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 17.7  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.76