Specular Space Expansion: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms Through Hermann Schmitz’s Atmospheres (81123)

Session Information:

Session: On Demand
Room: Virtual Video Presentation
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Since the debut of her first infinite room, "Floor Show," in 1965, Yayoi Kusama has used specular space to extend light, shapes, and the presence of the viewer, leaving a sense that the perceptual field is transformed. This article undertakes an analysis of Kusama's infinite rooms within the framework of the concrete phenomenon of Atmospheres, developed by the German philosopher Hermann Schmitz. The concept is explored within the emotional space, as part of the theory of perception, presented in Schmitz's monograph titled "The Sphere of Emotion" [Der Gefühlsraum], wherein feelings are constructed as atmospheres [der Raum der Gefühle als Atmosphären]. Schmitz views atmospheres as neutral entities, neither solely belonging to the object nor to the subject, but rather occupying an intermediate space. Employing a structural analysis of the concept, this study examines the aesthetic and perceptual dimensions of Kusama's works. The findings reveal that the infinite rooms not only extend the body within virtual space as an iterative function—an idea the author of this article extrapolates from the possibilities of self-reference in specular spaces—but also expand the body through the atmospheres of feelings and the body as islands in Schmitz's philosophy. This work aims to contribute to contemporary discussions on the phenomenology of perception, affectivity, and the theory of atmospheres, elucidating the profound ways in which the surroundings shape the sense of self and the relationship to the world.

S.Melissa Gallego Quiroz, Shanghai University, China

About the Presenter(s)
S.Melissa Gallego Quiroz
Ph.D. candidate Design Sciences Shanghai University 上海大学
Institution and department: Shanghai University Division of Art Design
Interests: Visual Culture · Arts and Humanities · Phenomenology.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00