I felt that Dewey could be placed in conversation with Brian Massumi, particularly in regards to concepts dealing with the experience as felt, sensated, embodied affect. Dewey spoke to the experience of art and the aesthetic in regards to more ‘traditional’ media, whereas Massumi’s writings on the body and the experiential could be an updated response to this, addressing new forms of embodiment and aesthetic experience in the digital age.
Dewey writes of a necessary unity for an experience to be whole or constituted as experience in itself: “An experience has a unity that gives it its name, that meal, that storm, that rupture of friendship…This unity is neither emotional, practical, nor intellectual, for these terms name distinctions that reflection can make within it” (38). I felt that throughout this essay, Dewey kept pointing to a certain kind of knowing through experience that is not “emotional, practical, nor intellectual” and that this is what Massumi refers to as proprioception, a bodily sense. Experience is sensated and perceived through the body’s movement through space. There is also a sensory feedback as the body experiences, senses, produces its own affect. There is a sensory recursiveness, beyond only emotion or intellect into something other, the proprioceptive.
Dewey writes, “Physical things from far ends of the earth are physicially transported and physically caused to act and react upon one another in the construction of a new object. The miracle of mind is that something similar takes place in experience without physical transport and assembling. Emotion is the moving and cementing force” (44) — Also here I found a conceptual parallel to Peirce’s firstness (emotion), secondness (physical force), and thirdness (relationships created). Dewey writes about ‘mind’ and ‘emotion’ but where is the body? Placed within a historical discourse, there is an interesting conversation happening here in regards to understanding our experience in art as it has changed over time and invention; from painting, sculpture, architecture, to pixels on a screen, the design of responsive environments, and virtual spaces through game design or internet based interfaces. In the latter, still we need pattern and structure - chaos is mapped, scanned, coded, or interlaced - in order for experience to be comprehended. Mind, emotion, and ‘purely’ cognitive sensation give way to bodily sensation, proprioception, the embodied experience. In this paradigm, what kinds of new experineces are we having? What new affordances appear? What do these new experiences do for proprioceptive experience and sensation, while still affecting the mind and heart?