Analysis Of Eyes Of The Skin And The Thinking Hand

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The Eyes of the Skin and The Thinking Hand by Juhani Pallasmaa are two intriguing books, which explore the human senses and how the senses’ phenomenological qualities provide an existential understanding of oneself and mankind. Pallasmaa would argue that the conscious process of exploration through one’s senses could provide this existential outlet and inlet. As opposed to Howard Risatti, in a theory of craft, Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman appears to be more in line with Pallasmaa’s idea of processing through experimenting. To begin with, Pallasmaa focuses a large portion of both texts on the exploration of the senses; in the way they interact with each other as well as the spaces they inhabit, or objects they encounter. He is opposed to the idea of the separation of the senses. He argues for more of an integrated body that uses multiple senses as a means to better understand the world. Pallasmaa quotes the psychologist James J Gibson who defines the senses as “as aggressively seeking mechanisms rather than mere passive receivers.” The senses are actively searching for constant interaction and understanding of this world. He writes “Instead of the five detached senses, Gibson categorizes the senses in five sensory systems: visual system, auditory system, the taste-smell system, the basic-orienting system and the haptic system. “[1] He even writes about theories that argue for 12 systems, though he doesn’t explore this topic at large. The biggest focus, in terms of our sensory systems, is the effects of how we perceive our senses. “This separation and reduction [of the senses] fragments the innate complexity, comprehensiveness and plasticity of the perceptual system, reinforcing a sense detachment and alienation.”[2] By separating and distilling our senses into five primal categories, he argues that the body as a whole has lost much of the beauty that had
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