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Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism$
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Miranda Anderson, Peter Garratt, and Mark Sprevak

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442244

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442244.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Surrealism, Chance and the Extended Mind

Surrealism, Chance and the Extended Mind

(p.171) 10 Surrealism, Chance and the Extended Mind
Distributed Cognition in Victorian Culture and Modernism

Kerry Watson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses how the Surrealists engaged with techniques like automatic drawing, the exquisite corpse, collage, frottage and decalcomania, and how this might be interpreted in the context of theories of distributed cognition, enactivism, embodiment, and the extended mind. The Surrealists’ use of ‘objective chance’ was driven by a belief in the existence of an unconscious state of mind which could only be accessed obliquely, by using techniques which bypassed both artistic skill and conscious thought. ‘Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?’. This question is posed by Clark and Chalmers (1998) as an introduction to the concept of the extended mind, but it could just as well be the very question the Surrealists were trying to address in their search for a universal truth, the key to which they believed to be the unconscious mind as defined by Freud.

Keywords:   Surrealism, Automatism, Collage, Frottage, Decalcomania, Drawing, Exquisite corpse, Embodied cognition, Extended mind, Chance

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