New Book Announcement: The Point of Being Edited by Derrick de Kerckhove & Cristina Miranda de Almeida


Picture of The Point of Being

From the Acknowledgements: The writing and editing of this book has passed through different phases. The idea started years ago with Derrick de Kerckhove, trying to understand the implications of a sensorial reset that McLuhan had predicted would be a consequence of electricity. By opposition to the point-of-view, which positions the subject in a visually dominant and detached experience, a tactile response would be a proprioceptive experience, privileging a sensation of the subject over its representation. The notion of the Point of Being, if embryonically, was introduced in the book Skin of Culture in 1998. The second strong impulse to the materialization of the book happened in the summer of 2007, when Derrick invited a group of researchers to work together on the first nucleus of the book in his house in Wicklow, Ontario, Canada.

From the Editors’ Introduction: The Point of Being is a book of essays that explore the psychophysiological  dimensions of the ways people experience their presence in the world and the world’s presence in them. While it is intended to interest every kind of culture, The Point of Being addresses conditions that apply principally to Western alphabetized societies. Indeed, the basic premise of the book is that the alphabet has emphasized a visual dominance among the senses people use to perceive the world as a whole, a trend that has repressed or toned down information from other senses. This literate 1 bias is well documented by Eric Havelock, Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, Leonard Schlain and others.
          Much research has focused on understanding how people experience their presence in the world. These publications generally analyse embodiment and new manners of exploring the sensorium beyond the inherited context. These contributions come from varied disciplines such as architecture, art, music, art history, cinema, psychology and proprioception studies, design, a variety of technology and engineering studies, philosophy, medicine, aesthetics, sociology, and anthropology, among others. 2 Although these contributions help construct the subject, they do not fully examine the impact of electricity or that of digital technology on sensibility. The concept of the Point of Being aims at offering different ways to understand this new situation. From the acknowledgement of this situation the book explores the research question: which are the psycho-physiological dimensions of the ways people experience their presence in the world and the world’s presence in them?
The objective of this collective work is not only academic. Because they deal principally with issues of perception and sentience, there is in all chapters an invitation to experience a shift of perception. An embodied sensation of the world and a re-sensorialization of the environment are described to complement the visually biased perspective with a renewed sense of our relationship to the spatial and material surrounds. What is attempted here is to induce the topological reunion of sensation and cognition, of sense and sensibility and of body, self and world
(Source: ).

Download a pdf extract of this book from: .

Nine authors explore different ways in which the paradigm of the Point of Being can bridge the interval, the discontinuity, between subjects and objects that began with the diffusion of the phonetic alphabet. The Point of Being is a signpost on that journey.

ISBN-13:978-1-4438-6038-3   *   ISBN-10:1-4438-6038-7   *   Date of Publication:01/08/2014   *   
Pages / Size:360 / A5   *   Price:£52.99 
Biographies of the Editors

Derrick de Kerckhove is Emeritus Professor of the Department of French, University of Toronto, and Professor of the Faculty of Sociology, University Federico II, Naples. He is former Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology (MPCT) and of the Research Programme in Digital Culture, at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (IN3/UOC), in Barcelona. Professor de Kerckhove received PhDs in French Language and Literature from the University of Toronto in 1975 and in Sociology of Art from the University of Tours in 1979. He worked as translator and co-author with Marshall McLuhan, and holds the Order of “Les Palmes Académiques”, is a Member of the Club of Rome and is Papamarkou Chair in Technology and Education at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

299889_10151113116942078_1313255742_aCristina Miranda de Almeida is Lecturer at the Department of Art and Technology, University of the Basque Country and a Visiting Scholar and external researcher at the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3/UOC), Barcelona. She holds a European PhD in Art (UPV/EHU, 2005). She spent post-doctoral research periods at the École Nationale Superieur des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2009), at the McLuhan Program of Culture and Technology, Toronto (2007) and at the CaiiA-Hub-Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth (2005–06), and was a pre-doctoral researcher at Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (2005). She collaborates with the International Journal of McLuhan Studies, NoemaLab and Ausart. Her practice-based art research (video installations, photography, performances) focuses on the cultural construction of identity and has been internationally exhibited.

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