Encountering the Numinous

Numinous (pronounced /ˈnjuːmɨnəs/, from the Classical Latin numen)

Though, they aren’t far off. Similar to a child encountering a lobster for the first time, an encounter with the numinous can invoke two parallel emotions, fear and fascination. According to Rudolf Otto this feeling of mysterium tremendum and mysterium fascinans is somewhat displacing and although it is often referred to in a non-secular context this form of engagement with something wholly other is not altogether unlike that feeling I get when I encounter a compelling work of art. Something with the capacity to transcend snap judgments and take you into the wake of differentiated thought. A work that allows you to encounter its capacity as a physical manifestation of thought or encounter. The sublime or numinous qualities of a work of art allow the viewer to see the space between the imagining of the work and the creation of the work – the liminal space between inspiration and inception.

This topic warrants a much longer explanation, but I feel this summation will suffice for the context of this class.

For more, check out this article by

Bernard X. Bovasso.

In conjunction with a recent lecture and panel discussion with Jonathan Middleton, Flint Jamison, and TARL –  I’ve come to find the idea of examining process to be extremely compelling and was glad to see it represented is such a realistic and tangible way. As ephemeral these discussion can get, its important to register the realness of process, collaboration, and creation. I feel these panelists were able to provide some latitude to this discussion, each in their own ways.

Also, I don’t have words for how unbelievably excited I am for Flint’s new space in PDX. It keeps blowing my mind and reassembling it in different ways. Stoked.


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Play Art Loud! ArtBabble.org
I'm also a contributor to the Henry Art Gallery's Hankblog and editor/producer of the Gallery's ArtCasts.

I'm currently working as a Wallace Foundation Fellow with emp|sfm to foster a new network for the NorthWest all ages music & arts community. Its called The Sound Board and you should totally check it out.

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