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Poppy A. Gauss, IDSVA





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This dissertation examines how the immersive aesthetic experience engages sense and reason in interpretation of ontological questions. This examination is important, as it reveals how thinking contextually develops through the practice of nuance and lingering.This research demonstrates that the ontological task of aesthetics distinguishes art from entertainment. I argue that the immersive aesthetic experience avoids superficiality by addressing; embodiment, intertextuality, and the sublime.Embodiment relates to the abundance of sense data characteristic of immersives aesthetic experiences. Spaces, light, smells, environments that elicit physical response. Presented with, and as, ambiguous signs that appear to make ontological reference. Physical response stimulates interpretation, an interpretation that is intertextual. Understanding intertextuality can better facilitate operating in a complex and contextual world. These experiences require focus, becoming conscious of. The sublime, understood as an intense experience of aesthetic understanding, is integral to the description of immersive aesthetic experience developed in this study. When aesthetic understanding is of an ontological nature, occurs unexpectedly, briefly, and intensely, it is called sublime, and reveals the nature of singularity. This intense experience may act as an enticement to engage sense and reason, freely and with more frequency.

The dialogue developed in this research aims to to understand what immersives aesthetic experiences share in common and addresses four important questions.What kind of being does the ontological content of each work address? What is the formal approach to the work? How does the work physically engage sense? And what is revealed? The guiding voices that this dialogue depends on include; Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes, Jean Luc Nancy, Martin Heidegger, Henri Bergson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. I argue Yayoi Kusama, Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson and Damien Hirst offer examples of the type of work that encourages nuance and lingering, and reveals presence. Ultimately resulting in understanding that being responds to, and is responsible for, the world.


Aesthetics | Arts and Humanities | Philosophy


Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


Portland ME

The Immersive Aesthetic Experience: Accommodating Art’s Ontological Task


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