13 April: The Body Here and There

Location: Kunstkwartier 6211, Misericordeplein, Maastricht
Time: 8 – 10 PM
Entrance: 5 euro
English spoken

With Jenny Slatman and Kenneth Meijer The perception of heat, cold and pain, of being touched or moving our body, causes us to experience our bodies as inalienably ours. Yet other sensory experiences may cause us to suddenly perceive our body as strange and question the boundaries between our own and someone else’s body. Experiments demonstrate that we can easily fool ourselves into experiencing a fake hand as if it were part of our own body. Drawing on her own research, Jenny Slatman discusses various ways of experiencing one’s body, including illusionary ones, and explains them in terms of a dual sense of localization. Our embodied existence is open and confined at the same time because of its simultaneous being “here” and “there”. These concepts also provide input for new rehabilitation therapies. Kenneth Meijer presents some of the rehabilitation lessons learned at the new virtual reality lab(CAREN), where illusions are used to probe the human muscle-skeletal sensory system for basic research and diagnosis.

Jenny Slatman

Jenny Slatman (1969) is a philosopher interested in sensory phenomena related to the body, including body image disturbances, bodily integrity, blemishes and disfigurement. She has worked with bodies, both as a physiotherapist and a philosopher, in Amsterdam and Paris. She currently works as an Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Ethics and Society at Maastricht University. A recent work by Slatman is Our Strange Body. Philosophical Reflections on Identity and Medical Interventions (2014).

Kenneth Meijer

Kenneth Meijer (1968) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Movement Sciences and Human Biology at Maastricht University and Director of the Human Performance Laboratory. His research focuses on the neuro-mechanics of human movement and identifies how humans balance stability and economy during locomotion. New technologies, including the new virtual reality lab, are essential to the understanding of ways in which the sensory system contributes to this balance.

Training the Senses

We tend to think of knowledge as school-taught, language-based and to a large extent visually acquired – through reading, viewing and insight. Yet we also know that our bodies are reservoirs of other forms of knowledge acquired through a collaboration of multiple senses: hearing, taste, smell and touch. We use our hands and noses to select fruit at the market. We smell to find a suitable mate, listen to sense danger and intuit to gauge the insecurity of others. The senses also provide information we are not always aware of. We know that a cook uses his sense of smell and taste to determine the freshness and combination of ingredients. Much less obvious is that a physician needs to train her hands to feel her way to a diagnosis or that a ceramics expert needs to hone his hearing to authenticate a porcelain bowl. This Training the Senses series consist of presentations, workshops and even warm-ups focused on providing insight into these knowledge fields. They explore the ways we recognize and use our senses and, through training, also make sense of the world around us.

Training the Senses is part of Marres’ long-term program devoted to the Senses. The program consists of exhibitions, walks, workshops, and presentations in which Marres examines artistic practices, bodily reflexes, mental states, and conditions including hallucination, depression, anxiety, love, and remembrance.

Thanks to:
Maastricht University
Ike Kamphof
Joeri Bruyninckx
Anna Harris
Rob van Duyn
Arie van der Lugt
Emilie Sitzia
Annelies Jacobs