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David Lydon Intent

Sci-Art

This performance piece will be an exploration of the relationship between the objective and subjective self (See Lewis, 1991 for information, although his designation of objective and subjective terms makes it a little confusing. I prefer to talk about the body as object and the conscious aspect of experience as the subject). Processes often outside of conscious awareness direct our everyday behavior. We are sacks of flesh and require certain resources to maintain our bodies (food, water, air) and there are mechanisms which drive us to these resources, a lot of the time without conscious awareness and that become more and more difficult to control as our physical need for these resources grow. But as well as being bodies, we are subjects - Merleau-Ponty uses the term body-subject to refer to humans because we both have and are bodies. We can reflect on our corporeality and sometimes control our urges and direct our energies elsewhere. However, in some cases the motivation induced by our bodies is extremely strong and cannot always be controlled. Sometimes we are aware of this we know when we have failed to stick to a diet for example. Other times, the influence might be less subtle. Think of the times in which you have intentions but slowly these intentions begin to seem less important - e.g. when faced with delicious food after resolving to be on a diet we might say well I didnt really care about losing that much weight anyway. The relationship between these two selves is also clear in drug addicts. Often they dont want to continue using drugs but cannot help it, it becomes compulsive and unable to be reigned in by conscious effort. Having Matt, a cigarette smoker, trying to resist smoking a cigarette during a duration piece will provide insight into the relationship between the objective and subjective selves in a cigarette smoker with nicotine addiction. It is unlikely that this will be a true experiment since Matt knows so much about the intent already. But I guess thats what makes it a performance piece and a work of art. With the freedom this allows, we can (are forced to?) have clear ideas about what we want to convey about these selves. Ive laid out what I think would be an interesting piece. The idea is that we see the impulse to smoke get stronger and stronger and the resolution at the beginning to remain abstinent weakens and his subjective self becomes tainted with bottom-up influence, i.e. Matt begins to find the idea of remaining abstinent less compelling, finds more and more reasons to relapse as time goes by. This would be juxtaposed with the very real withdrawal symptoms that Matt may experience which will be quantified in a scientific manner through the use of CO monitors and existing surveys.