Fiona Allen

Encounters with Affect

A personal perception of affect, feeling and emotion.

Encounters with Affect originated from my increasing interest in affect theory; a very abstract and difficult to define concept originating in the realm of psychology and developed in various areas of critical theory. There have been numerous approaches and discussions by various theorists towards affect theory, but it is best described as the visceral ‘intensities that pass from body to body (human, non-human, part-body, and otherwise)’.

This body of work displays my own perception of a selection of the nine affects that were listed by the psychologist Silvan Tomkins; ‘enjoyment- joy, interest-excitement, surprise-startle, anger-rage, distress-anguish, fear-terror, shame-humiliation, disgust and dis-smell’. My own feelings in response to some of these affects have been portrayed through the use of visual metaphors such as colour, texture, objects, temperature and light. It is important to note that as individuals we respond to our encounters in different ways, so how one person feels in response to an affective encounter may be completely different from the way another person feels. It will be interesting to see if you can guess the affect portrayed in each of the displayed photos?


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