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READER ‘J’ (FROM SEOUL) DELVES INTO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ‘ANIMISM’ AND ART:

‘The term Animism is an anthropological term coined by british Anthropologist Edward B.Tylor (1832-1917) To Tylor Animism was the minimal definition of a religion based on the brief in spiritual beings. He claims that every religion from an original attribution of soul or spirit to inanimate objects. According to his theory we have evolved from animism via polytheism to monotheism and from there through to highest state of science…so from a state of nature to a modern technological civilisation. During the 20th century the term was shunned by ethnologists for its explicit evolutionism and only recently has had a revival and more predominantly in the arts. Within the field of psychology it has continued to play a role in the context of the theory of projection. For Tylor it was a way to determine the correct distance between matter(object, nature) and people (soul, subject), between modern present and ancient past. For Freud it was the means to determine the boundaries between inner self and outer reality,, Freud declared Animism to be ‘the subjects narcissistic overvaluation of his own mental processes’, a belief in the omnipotence of thought, an unrestricted narcissism which strives to withstand the laws of reality…

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We have a fantastic exhibition on here in Seoul right now by by German curator Anselm Franke which questions the colonial narratives at play and confounds the boundaries within the field of ‘Animism’. See here for more info…. http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/animism-at-ilmin-museum-of-art/

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