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DepositEmbodied Music

The experience of music offers powerful proof of the embeddedness of human being. It is environmental engagement at its highest pitch, and thus offers an eloquent argument for the full fusion of human being, a kind of reasoning I call the argument from experience. When Walter Pater observed that “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music,” he may have been extolling music at the expense of the other arts. But perhaps he recognized that music achieves human embodiment with unusual forcefulness, directness, and immediacy. Yet every art, or rather, every appreciative engagement with art, does something of the same thing, each in its own way. Art thus offers us what philosophy has no language to express directly: the unity of human being and the continuity of our multiple dimensions. By making this aesthetic fusion explicit in aesthetic experience, we can begin to reveal art’s ways, perhaps the closest we can come to expressing the unsayable.

DepositEMBODYING THE COUNTRYSIDE IN AIṬA ḤAṢBAWIYA (MOROCCO)

ʿAiṭa–a genre of sung poetry from the Moroccan Atlantic Plains and its adjacent territories—is regarded as the quintessential expression of the identity of the region. If it is possible to analyse the poetic language of ʿaiṭa in order to understand its significance among these populations, it is also critical to examine how the affective power of ʿaiṭa is determined by particular ideologies about the voice of its female interpreters, the shikhat (professional female singer-dancers). Their voice, in fact, is judged in accordance with a number of aesthetic requirements that are commonly described as embodying the countryside. The article examines in what way(s) a voice which is said to express “peasant life” may be shaped and which aesthetic requirements it must satisfy. In so doing I’m interested in identifying and analysing what is considered to be the central aesthetic requirement that such a voice must satisfy and which parameters are used to judge its affective power; exploring how specific qualities express a theory about the voice of a particular style of ʿaiṭa; and examining how the timbral entity of the voice of the shikhat relates to the ways in which the voice functions as a culturally created symbol. It is in this context that I also examine how issues concerning sung poetry and its relation to women’s voices and the Moroccan nation are played out.

DepositEmbodied dwelling: the ontology of objects in Pokémon GO

The actions of making trails and wandering along them have long been limited to just a couple of realms: either they have existed in media such as games, in the imagination, or they have taken place in the physical world. This article is a speculative engagement with the metaphysics of the mobile phone-based augmented reality game Pokémon GO, which combines the physical and digital worlds into a unified experience of embodiment, movement and play. It considers the nature of the embodiment experienced by Pokémon GO players, and their relationship to the spaces and places in which they dwell during and after play – simultaneously in both the real world and the virtual game world of Pokémon GO. Both worlds offer the opportunity to experience different instantiations of the same space, in the sense that the digital world recreates aspects of the physical world and, in so doing, fuses and entangles them. Pokémon GO is an interesting case study because, unlike many other digital games, it enforces physical movement through the real world as a mechanic of gameplay. It is also a wildly popular game that builds upon similar mechanics of the forerunner game Ingress by the same publisher, Niantic. Embodiment is positioned alongside the notion of dwelling as a distinct practice of attunement to and engagement with the world – as a turning towards the world through the use of devices that reveal hidden digital features. Additionally, the article explores the ontology of objects within the game, plus the mobile devices used to access the game world, both of which operate to distinguish the game world from the underlying ‘real’ world. These objects are positioned as ‘mediators’, after Latour’s actor-network theory (ANT). Their role is described as boundary markers and access points between the digital and physical.