I went to the first philosophy lecture series with other students on the MFA programme. I found the Descartes lecture interesting but was frustrated by the fact that many of the other students in the group had been discussing philosophy quite a lot since the start of the course. Making me feel out of my depth. It was also quite abstract and might have been more interesting if placed in a context or related to arts practice.
My familiarity with Descartes was one based on his definition of Cartesian coordinate system, the ability to define a point in space with three axis. I have never studied the philosophical writings of Descartes but having read parts of ‘Discourse on the Method’ in advance of a seminar I started to understand the relevance of philosophical approaches in the arts especially those related to the senses and perception in which Descartes declares unreliable e.g the understanding of melted wax which is based on knowledge but not on senses.
I found Natasha Mayo’s talk on her Phd thesis very interesting. Natasha did her Phd in the early years of practitioner led research. Again lots of references to philosophical theory were mentioned especially related to perception and the writing by Merleau-Ponty. This is an area I am interested in reading further as I find perception an interesting concept.