Roberto Casati is a tenured senior researcher with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. His research is concentrated on the areas of analytical metaphysics, the study of shadow related perceptual phenomena and the study of cognitive artefacts. The diversity of his research is reflected in the wide range of journals in which he has published. These include Analysis, the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Perception, Trends in Cognitive Science, the Journal of Visual Language and Computing and Behavioural and Brain Sciences. In the London Aesthetics Forum’s final session this term, Casati will be presenting the paper ‘Problems of Light and Shadows in Art’.
Problems of Light and Shadows in Art
Wednesday 11th March 2015 | 16:00 – 18:00 Senate House Room 349 (third floor)
Abstract: Shadows are a massive feature of our visual environment, in which objects block light, our principal source of information. They are a problem for vision, which must distinguish them from full-blown objects or from permanent features, and at the same time they are a resource, as they signal objects’ presence, location, shape and size – among other properties. Much of the information from shadows is processed automatically and then can be consciously accessed. Once used, shadows end up in the visual dustbin – they are hardly noticed – from where they can be retrieved only in certain special circumstances. For their visual – and conceptual – complexity, shadows have fascinated artists, whose explorations are in nuce psychological experiments. I shall document some steps of these exploration, based on a large database of shadow paintings from the Renaissance. By presenting what I consider to be a weak, but robust, cognitive approach to art, I shall also make some considerations about alternate approaches.