Alessandro Pignocchi

Institut Jean Nicod


The viewer as simulated artist

2011-2012: Spring

Alessandro Pignocchi studied Biology and Cognitive Science. He received a PhD in philosophy of art and cognitive science, directed by Roberto Casati, at the Institut Jean Nicod in Paris. His thesis supported the proposal that when perceiving a drawing we automatically simulate some aspects of the gesture of the draftsman and that this "motor perception" is a first step of the recovery of the draftsman's intentions. Furthermore, he discussed the consequence of the motor perception hypothesis for the learning of drawing and for the appreciation of drawings and pictures. Dr. Pignocchi recently published a book in which he claims that when perceiving an artwork we automatically and in part unconsciously attribute intentions to the artist, and that the details of the intentional process that we reconstruct determine all our experience of the artwork, including its perception. He is currently working on a second book in which he uses this intentional model to analyse a set of artworks, including movies, novels, comics and paintings.