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Heidegger, Heterotopic Dwelling and Prehistoric Art: An Initial Indication of a Field of Research

by Philip Tonner
School of Education, The University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G4 0LT, UK
This paper draws on and develops themes in a number of my publications. Please see my References for details.
Religions 2018, 9(12), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120405
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 5 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 8 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenological Studies of Religious Life)
This paper begins to develop an interpretation of European cave art based on Martin Heidegger’s account of artistic production and ‘dwelling’ so as to indicate a potentially rich area for future research. The paper will also draw on Foucault’s account of heterotopic space and will engage with one of the key researchers on the archaeology of cave art, Randall White. The role of a work of art for Heidegger is to hold open a world. Art enables a decision to be made by a group regarding how things are going to matter for, and to, them as dwellers in their world. Works of art, on Heidegger’s account, put up for decision what will count as the highest values (the gods) for a group while determining what will prove essential for human dwelling in a world. With reference to Foucault, it will be suggested that caves are a good candidate for a heterotopic space. Caves are uncanny, numinous spaces and because of this, I suggest, they enable human beings to produce art as a world-opening event. I suggest that there is something significant about human experience in caves and I attempt to make a connection between heterotopic space, dwelling, and the art of the last Ice Age in Europe in order to point towards a novel field of research: dwelling and prehistoric art. View Full-Text
Keywords: phenomenology; dwelling; cave; heterotopia; art; uncanny; anxiety; numinous; liminal; underscape phenomenology; dwelling; cave; heterotopia; art; uncanny; anxiety; numinous; liminal; underscape
MDPI and ACS Style

Tonner, P. Heidegger, Heterotopic Dwelling and Prehistoric Art: An Initial Indication of a Field of Research. Religions 2018, 9, 405.

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