Ellen Esrock

Touching Words & Images

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rensselaer professor Ellen Esrock researches the effect that our sense of touch, temperature, body position, and pain has on our perceptions of visual art and literature. In this talk, she explores how spectators and readers use their own body to reshape the boundary between themselves and an imagined fictional world. This softening of boundaries permits readers and viewers to immerse themselves in worlds outside of their own and to locate these worlds within the self. Touch, as part of the somatosensory system, functions along with the viscerosensory and motor systems to deepen our emotions and cognitions of these blended realities.

Emily Zimmerman

Ellen Esrock is an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Esrock integrates humanistic and cognitive/neuropsychological approaches to the bodily experiences of viewing art and reading literature. Select publications include The Reader’s Eye: Visual Imaging as Reader Response (1994); “Embodying Art: The Spectator and the Inner Body,” Poetics Today (2010); “Embodying Literature,” Journal of Consciousness Studies (2004); and “Touching Art: Intimacy, Embodiment, and the Somatosensory System,” Consciousness and Emotion (2001). She holds a PhD in comparative literature from New York University and a BA in philosophy from Washington University St. Louis.

Ellen Esrock
February 25, 2014, 12PM
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EMPAC 2013-2014 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust), and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support of artist commissions.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
State of the Arts - NYSCA