Withness in kind

Lisa Samuels


Withness is an interpretive approach that wants to stay with the art work it’s responding to. Its value is the opposite of critical distance – it wants critical closeness. To be kind is also to be in kind: to draw together with and foster the otherness of what’s encountered in a constative angle of kindness; to form kindred percepts. This essay engages material from multiple philosophers, artists, and archives, including Charles S. Peirce and Vahni Capildeo and Motion Bank. It also considers a withness response to Leslie Scalapino’s 2010 illustrated book The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom. Withness is a zeitgeist angle on testimonial retexting and community in performed responses to art.


interpretation, ethics, phenomenology, poetry, collaboration

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