Published online: 19 May 2022
“The (de) situated subjective: a cognitive autoethnography of ‘the New York School’” is published in the Journal of Visual Art Practice. You can access the paper here.
In this article I initiate an inquiry into the artistic act and its relation to self-expression in an age of computational virtuality, a time when subjectivity is being subsumed by ubiquity and its requisite social mediation. Starting from my painting practice, I attempt to access the tacit aesthetic prior to the emergence of the algorithmic mediation permeating contemporary culture, by exploring metaphor in precomputational artistic praxis. I examine the entanglement of self and context in a ‘cognitive autoethnography’ reflecting on artists’ reports from late Modernism, a time when subjectivity found focus in the studio of the individual practitioner, not across networks of digital mediation. I examine metaphors of curiosity and intuition in the creative ‘play’ of artists to offer a qualitative analysis of 10 articles published in ARTnews magazine during the 1950s and 1960s interviewing Abstract Expressionist artists of the New York School. I seek the individual in the creative act to relocate myself as a practitioner in our age of distributed subjectivity. The study brings into question presumptions about sampling and interpretation, explores the subjective dimensions of creative praxis and speculates on what we – as artists and humanists – may be losing in the algorithmic transformation of embodied creative intentionality.
KEYWORDS: Creative process, autographic praxis, visual metaphor, cognitive autoethnography, abstract expressionism, situated cognition