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Alison L. Thomson

Alison Thomson is an independent artist, researcher and writer. In 2013 she completed a Master of Fine Art by research at Monash University. This project explored the potential for art practices to transform 'subjectivity' in conjunction with feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray's concept of the 'sensible transcendental'. (See PDF attached below or hardcopy at Monash University library.)


Irigaray argues that males and females, and the categories of the masculine and feminine, are different and equally valuable. For Irigaray 'sexual difference' is the first and foundational difference from which all other differences arise. Through her concept of the 'sensible transcendental' Irigaray aimed to elevate the value of the sensible in relation to the transcendent. (Definition of terms: In the field of Western metaphysics, the 'sensible' refers to that which is perceived by the senses or the material realm. This category also includes emotions and mental imagery. The 'transcendent' encompasses the divine, form, spirit, the intelligible, mind, and intellect. During the early Christian period the 'sensible' became overtly linked with the 'feminine' and the 'transcendent' was aligned with the 'masculine'. The subject is the 'I' or agent and 'subjectivity' is the activity of the subject.)

Alison Thomson developed Irigaray's concept of  the 'sensible transcendental' further into a union of transcendence and finitude (or metaxis in Platonic philosophy). Thomson's writing and artworks attempt to think and symbolise a 'sensible transcendental' as both process and horizon. Recent scholarship in cognitive science, psychology and the wisdom traditions refers to this approach as 'transcendent naturalism'.


Image: Rosella Spider Orchid - rear view, by Alison Thomson 2014. The photograph shows the flower in first bloom. *Please note all artworks, images and text included on this site are subject to copyright laws.

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