Art as an Embodied Imagination

Topics: Art, Aesthetics, Conceptual metaphor Pages: 62 (22095 words) Published: January 13, 2013
ied ImJournal of Consumer Research, Inc.

Speaking of Art as Embodied Imagination: A Multisensory Approach to Understanding Aesthetic Experience Author(s): Annamma Joy and John F. Sherry, Jr. Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 30, No. 2 (September 2003), pp. 259-282 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 22/10/2012 06:18 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

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Speaking of Art as Embodied Imagination: A Multisensory Approach to Understanding Aesthetic Experience ANNAMMA JOY JOHN F. SHERRY, JR.*
This article focuses on somatic experience—not just the process of thinking bodily but how the body informs the logic of thinking about art. We examine the links between embodiment, movement, and multisensory experience insofar as they help to elucidate the contours of art appreciation in a museum. We argue that embodiment can be identified at two levels: the phenomenological and the cognitive unconscious. At the first level, individuals are conscious of their feelings and actions while, at the second level, sensorimotor and other bodily oriented inference mechanisms inform their processes of abstract thought and reasoning. We analyze the consumption stories of 30 museum goers in order to understand how people move through museum spaces and feel, touch, hear, smell, and taste art. Further, through an analysis of metaphors and the use of conceptual blending, we tap into the participants’ unconscious minds, gleaning important embodiment processes that shape their reasoning.

Solvitur ambulando (Solve it by walking) (roman proverb)


n the twenty-first century, for better or worse, the marketplace has changed its strategy from selling products and services to selling the consumer an experience. In their provocative book entitled The Experience Economy (1999), Pine and Gilmore describe the marketplace as a theatrical stage, replete with actors, scripts, and audience participation (consumers). Central to their thesis is the notion that companies such as Pizza Hut now market and sell not so much products as experiences. The corporeal basis for marketing has a decided advantage: success depends on the memorability of the aesthetic experience. This aspect of the consumer economy has merited little attention (Pine and Gil-

*Annamma Joy is professor of marketing, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, PQ, Canada, H3G 1M8; e-mail: John F. Sherry, Jr., is professor of marketing, Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208; e-mail: The authors gratefully acknowledge the internal grant awarded to the first author by the Faculty of Commerce at Concordia University. The authors thank V. Misic, V. Baslyk, and D. Gupta, who contributed in various ways to the preparation of this manuscript. Without their help the authors could not have accomplished what they set out to do. The authors would also like to thank the editor, the associate editor, and the three JCR reviewers for their scintillating thoughts, constructive comments, and useful suggestions. Finally, the authors thank V. Baba, who is the source of inspiration for this article. For orchestrating many beautiful...
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