Once upon a time, I became obsessed with a field of knowledge referred to as Reception Theory.
I am still recuperating to this day…
Reception theory is a philosophy about the arts that recognizes the audience as an essential element in the creative process. Originally developed as a method of literary criticism, reception theory posits that meaning does not lie in the work of art itself; rather meaning is part of a process of interaction between the audience and the artwork. Each reader’s life experience contextualizes the meaning of each work differently, making complete and total understanding impossible.
Here are a few of my favorite texts, but be careful…this stuff gives you ideas.
The Order of Things, Michel Foucault
The Post-Modern Condition, Jean-Francois Lyotard
The Mirror Phase, Jacques Lacan
The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, Ernst Cassirer
Towards an Aesthetic of Reception, Hans Robert Jauss
Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Genesis and Structure, Jacques Derrida