Violence and the Mimetic Unconscious: vol. 2 The Affective Hypothesis


Representations of violence have subliminal contagious effects, but what kind of unconscious captures this imperceptible affective dynamic in the digital age? In volume two of a Janus-faced diagnostic on violence and the unconscious, HOM PI Nidesh Lawtoo traces a genealogy of a long-neglected, embodied, relational, and highly mimetic unconscious central to the problematic of (new) media violence. Now OUT with MSU P!

HOM Videos ep.9, The Neuroscience of Mimesis: Vittorio Gallese. II. Mirror Neurons Now & Then

In this second episode of HOM Videos on The Neuroscience of Mimesis, Vittorio Gallese discusses with Nidesh Lawtoo important precursors of the discovery of mirror neurons in aesthetics, phenomenology and the tradition of the mimetic unconscious: from Nietzsche to Lipps, Merleau-Ponty to Aby Warburg, Charles Féré to Pierre Janet, a number of fin-de-siecle philosophical physicians were sensitive to the mirroring relation between movement and sensation later confirmed by the discovery of mirror neurons.

HOM Videos 9, The Neuroscience of Mimesis: Vittorio Gallese. I History of a Discovery

As HOM Videos moves toward a conclusion, Nidesh Lawtoo travels to Parma, Italy, to interview neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese who, along with Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team, discovered mirror neurons in the early 1990s. In the first of four episodes on a major contribution to the mimetic turn, Gallese retells the history of the discovery of mirror neurons in nonhuman and human primates, discusses what more is known about mirroring mechanisms 30 years later, and begins to lay out the theoretical implications of embodied simulation for the transformations of homo mimeticus in the 21st century.

Keynote II: Narrative as Body (Vittorio Gallese)

When navigating the parallel world of fictional narrative, we basically rely on the same brain-body resources shaped by our relation to mundane reality, since both realms are characterized by similar social practices and performative acts. Cognitive narratology reveals that readers make sense of complex narratives by relying on very few textual or discourse cues.

The Mimetic Turn: HOM Final Conference, April 20-22.

The ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus: Theory and Criticism (HOM) hosted by the Institute of Philosophy and the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven, Belgium, is pleased to announce its final international conference titled The Mimetic Turn (April 20-22, 2022; ONLINE). Keynotes and Invited Speakers include Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Vittorio Gallese, Jane Bennett, William Connolly, Henry Staten, among other internationally renowned theorists and critics. Recordings here

On Empathy & Mimesis (Stuk, Leuven 21 June)

Empathy is often restricted to a moral feeling, but what if the human ability to “feel into” others goes to the palpitating heart of aesthetic and, perhaps, life experiences in general? Prof. Nidesh Lawtoo (KU Leuven) takes the Wired for Empathy exhibition (Curator: Karen Verschooren; STUK/Artefact June 2021) as a timely occasion to reconsider a human propensity for mimetic/empathic experiences that are increasingly recognized as central to aesthetics (from aisthēsis, “sensation”).