Mertens / Repetition towards improvisation

Repetition towards improvisation On visual repetition and attentional shifts

Author: Ans Mertens, LUCA School of Arts – KU Leuven

Supervisor: Nicola Setari, LUCA School of Arts – KU Leuven; Esther Venrooij, KU Leuven

Research stage: PhD-research (intermediate)

Category: Paper


According to Vilèm Flusser, Habit is the aesthetic equivalent of entropy (or time) and the ultimate criterion by which art (and newness) can be judged. The entropic process of aesthetic devaluation would transform all the ‘terrific’ new towards beauty, prettiness, and kitsch before becoming redundant. Flusser indeed considers habit as anaesthetic: the more we get used to appearances, the less they become noticeable. Habit opposes aesthetics. This text investigates the possibility of (a) habit(s) of noticing. As a case study, I will look into the filming, editing, and installation/presentation process of the film project called “Presencing” (working title). By drawing on the theories on attention and media by Yves Citton, repetition in sound by Elisabeth Margulis, and my visual research in the context of Presencing, I’ll seek ways to implement repetition as a thought-enhancing strategy within my work to question Flusser’s thesis of the repeated image becoming redundant over time.

Keywords: Repetition, Aesthetics, Attention, Film Studies