The Sympoiesis of Superheroes
The posthumanist and participatory aesthetics of the comic book Black Orchid (1988), written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean.
Through the neocybernetic concept sympoiesis, the comic book Black Orchid can be understood as a media ecology, where the feedback between the reader and the material environment of the comic book emerges as a distributed cognition. I will argue that the reader of the comic book participates in the production of aesthetic experience, and, more importantly, that this participation is not only a question of joining in on the hermeneutic circle, where the reader interprets the comic book and creates a storyworld. From a media-ecological perspective, aesthetic participation is also material and embodied; it is a question of participating in the emergence of an environment. In such a reading, Black Orchid tangibly stages an act of becoming, an event of ontogenesis.
Copyright (c) 2017 Per Israelson
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