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The aim of this panel is to explore exceptional experiences of art and aesthetics. Further, exceptional experiences in everyday life will be taken into account. This also relates to the fieldworker's experience of unexpected events that can lead serendipitously to key understandings of social life.
Anthropological studies have mostly focussed on either the art world or everyday life. In this panel, they are both included as cultural and social context. The aim of this panel is to explore exceptional experiences of art, aesthetics and performance. Further, exceptional experiences in everyday life will be taken into account, as suggested by Moshe Shokeid. This also relates to the fieldworker's experience of unexpected events that can lead serendipitously to key understandings. Revelatory moments can happen during artistic creation. They can also happen while looking at art, watching a performance or listening to a concert: not only to specialists such as critics, art collectors and art dealers, but also to members of a general audience, even a first-time visitor to an art event. James Joyce referred to epiphanies for a sudden insight of social conditions, and John Blacking described how peak experiences can spring up during artistic creation. Importantly, they are rare but memorable, even formative as they often bring life-changing understandings of oneself, other people or social life. As all this might appear to be positive forces, a critical take is in order. How do these different forms of exceptional experiences happen, what triggers them? They are obviously visual, but can also be aural. To what extent are exceptional experiences emotional and/or sensorial? How can we convey the drama of an exceptional experience in writing? The panel is searching to discuss not only events of excitement and hope, but also the realization of difficult circumstances.