About

Using phenomenology to make works of art that evoke the essence of our collective human experience.

“In the work of art the truth of an entity has set itself to work. ‘To set’ means here: to bring to a stand. Some particular entity, a pair of peasant shoes, comes in the work to stand in the light of its being. The being of the being comes into the steadiness of its shining. The nature of art would then be this: the truth of being setting itself to work.” – Heidegger

Phenomenology is a philosophy and research method that seeks to produce knowledge about human experience by “going back to the things themselves” and exploring how people live through certain phenomena, experientially and directly. Phenomenology does not care for abstract conceptualization or theorizing, but rather seeks to produce knowledge by collecting people’s detailed descriptions of their personal experience as they have actually lived-through it, in order to discover deep insights about what it really means to be human.

Phenomenology asks the question, “What really makes a phenomenon what it is?” What makes the lived experience of empowerment what it is? What makes the experience of living in a time of pandemic what it is? Then, we collect people’s descriptions of these experiences to unearth key insights about the essence of this particular phenomenon–what essential meanings lie at the truth of its being for human beings.

While some position phenomenology as a type of science, it can also be considered a form of art. Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and Van Manen have likened hermeneutic phenomenology to an artistic endeavor, because a work of art conveys its essential meanings to the viewer directly and experientally. The work showcased on this website has used the steps of phenomenological research as a method of art-making, in order to create artworks that capture the essence of the phenomena that we live-through collectively as a human species.

For questions, comments, or collaborations reach out to Dr. Nisha Gupta at ngupta@westga.edu.