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How aesthetics-understood as a more encompassing framework for human activity-might become the primary discourse for political and social engagement. These essays make the case for a reignited understanding of aesthetics-one that casts aesthetics not as illusory, subjective, or superficial, but as a more encompassing framework for human activity. Such an aesthetics, the contributors suggest, could become the primary discourse for political and social engagement. Departing from the "critical" stance of twentieth-century artists and theorists who embraced a counter-aesthetic framework for political engagement, this book documents how a broader understanding of aesthetics can offer insights into our relationships not only with objects, spaces, environments, and ecologies, but also with each other and the political structures in which we are all enmeshed. The contributors-philosophers, media theorists, artists, curators, writers and architects including such notable figures as Jacques Ranciere, Graham Harman, and Elaine Scarry-build a compelling framework for a new aesthetic discourse. The book opens with a conversation in which Ranciere tells the volume's editor, Mark Foster Gage, that the aesthetic is "about the experience of a common world." The essays following discuss such topics as the perception of reality; abstraction in ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics as the "first philosophy"; Afrofuturism; Xenofeminism; philosophical realism; the productive force of alienation; and the unbearable lightness of current creative discourse. Contributors Mark Foster Gage, Jacques Ranciere, Elaine Scarry, Graham Harman, Timothy Morton, Ferda Kolatan, Adam Fure, Michael Young, Nettrice R. Gaskins, Roger Rothman, Diann Bauer, Matt Shaw, Albena Yaneva, Brett Mommersteeg, Lydia Kallipolliti, Ariane Lourie Harrison, Rhett Russo, Peggy Deamer, Caroline Picard Matt Shaw, Managing Editor
Literary scholars often avoid the category of the aesthetic in discussions of ethics, believing that purely aesthetic judgments can vitiate analyses of a literary work's sociopolitical heft and meaning. In Practicing Literary Theory in the Middle Ages, Eleanor Johnson reveals that aesthetics the formal aspects of literary language that make it sense-perceptible are indeed inextricable from ethics in the writing of medieval literature. Johnson brings a keen formalist eye to bear on the prosimetric form: the mixing of prose with lyrical poetry. This form descends from the writings of the sixth-century Christian philosopher Boethius specifically his famous prison text, Consolation of Philosophy to the late medieval English tradition. Johnson argues that Boethius's text had a broad influence not simply on the thematic and philosophical content of subsequent literary writing, but also on the specific aesthetic construction of several vernacular traditions. She demonstrates the underlying prosimetric structures in a variety of Middle English texts including Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and portions of the Canterbury Tales, Thomas Usk's Testament of Love, John Gower's Confessio amantis, and Thomas Hoccleve's autobiographical poetry and asks how particular formal choices work, how they resonate with medieval literary-theoretical ideas, and how particular poems and prose works mediate the tricky business of modeling ethical transformation for a readership.
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Baked potatoes, Bombay potatoes, pommes frites . . . everyone eats potatoes, but what do they mean? To the United Nations they mean global food security (potatoes are the world's fourth most important food crop). To 18th-century philosophers they promised happiness. Nutritionists warn that too many increase your risk of hypertension. For the poet Seamus Heaney they conjured up both his mother and the 19th-century Irish famine. What stories lie behind the ordinary potato? The potato is entangled with the birth of the liberal state and the idea that individuals, rather than communities, should form the building blocks of society. Potatoes also speak about family, and our quest for communion with the universe. Thinking about potatoes turns out to be a good way of thinking about some of the important tensions in our world. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
A cultural history of the face in Western art, ranging from portraiture in painting and photography to film, theater, and mass media This fascinating book presents the first cultural history and anthropology of the face across centuries, continents, and media. Ranging from funerary masks and masks in drama to the figural work of contemporary artists including Cindy Sherman and Nam June Paik, renowned art historian Hans Belting emphasizes that while the face plays a critical role in human communication, it defies attempts at visual representation. Belting divides his book into three parts: faces as masks of the self, portraiture as a constantly evolving mask in Western culture, and the fate of the face in the age of mass media. Referencing a vast array of sources, Belting's insights draw on art history, philosophy, theories of visual culture, and cognitive science. He demonstrates that Western efforts to portray the face have repeatedly failed, even with the developments of new media such as photography and film, which promise ever-greater degrees of verisimilitude. In spite of sitting at the heart of human expression, the face resists possession, and creative endeavors to capture it inevitably result in masks--hollow signifiers of the humanity they're meant to embody. From creations by Van Eyck and August Sander to works by Francis Bacon, Ingmar Bergman, and Chuck Close, Face and Mask takes a remarkable look at how, through the centuries, the physical visage has inspired and evaded artistic interpretation.
Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment, Thierry de Duve argues in the first volume of Aesthetics at Large, is as relevant to the appreciation of art today as it was to the enjoyment of beautiful nature in 1790. Going against the grain of all aesthetic theories situated in the Hegelian tradition, this provocative thesis, which already guided de Duve's groundbreaking book Kant After Duchamp (1996), is here pursued in order to demonstrate that far from confining aesthetics to a stifling formalism isolated from all worldly concerns, Kant's guidance urgently opens the understanding of art onto ethics and politics. Central to de Duve's re-reading of the Critique of Judgment is Kant's idea of sensus communis, ultimately interpreted as the mere yet necessary idea that human beings are capable of living in peace with one another. De Duve pushes Kant's skepticism to its limits by submitting the idea of sensus communis to various tests leading to questions such as: Do artists speak on behalf of all of us? Is art the transcendental ground of democracy? Or, Was Adorno right when he claimed that no poetry could be written after Auschwitz? Loaded with de Duve's trademark blend of wit and erudition and written without jargon, these essays radically renew current approaches to some of the most burning issues raised by modern and contemporary art. They are indispensable reading for anyone with a deep interest in art, art history, or philosophical aesthetics.
The Philosophy of Design is an introduction to the fundamental philosophical issues raised by the contemporary practice of design. The first book to systematically examine design from the perspective of contemporary philosophy, it offers a broad perspective, ranging across key philosophical areas such as aesthetics, epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. The first part of the book explores central issues about the nature of design and its products, and the rationality of design methods. A central theme is that Modernist ideas, such as those offered by Loos and Gropius, provide important responses to these philosophical issues. In the second part of the book, these Modernist ideas serve as touchstones in the exploration of key issues for design, including: the place of aesthetics in design; design's relation to personal expression; the meaning of function; and design's relation to consumerism. The social responsibility of designers, and the impact of design practice on ethical reasoning are also discussed. Written in an accessible style, The Philosophy of Design presents a new perspective on design and a provocative reassessment of the Modernist legacy. It will engage students and designers with current philosophical debates, helping them to bring into clearer focus the meaning of contemporary design, and its unique challenges and possibilities.
The Joyous Science is a liberating voyage of discovery as Nietzsche's realization that 'God is dead' and his critique of morality, the arts and modernity give way to an exhilarating doctrine of self-emancipation and the concept of eternal recurrence. Here is Nietzsche at his most personal and affirmative; in his words, this is a book of 'exuberance, restlessness, contrariety and April showers'. With its unique voice and style, its playful combination of poetry and prose, and its invigorating quest for self-emancipation, The Joyous Science is a literary tour de force and quite possibly Nietzsche's best book.
In Praise of Theatre is Alain Badiou's latest work on the `most complete of the arts,' the theatrical stage. This book, certain to be of great interest to scholars and theatre practitioners alike, elaborates the theory of the theatre developed by Badiou in works such as Rhapsody for the Theatre and the `Theses on Theatre' and enquires into the status of a theatre that would be adequate to our `contemporary, market-oriented chaos.' In a departure from his usual emphasis upon canonical figures of the stage such as Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett, Badiou devotes In Praise of Theatre largely to a consideration of contemporary practitioners, including Jan Fabre, Brigitte Jacques and Romeo Castellucci. In addition, the book features an incisive analysis of the precarious status of the theatre today, in which Badiou describes not only the current threats to the theatre from the right, but the far more insidious threat from the left.
Philosophy has inherited a powerful impulse to embrace either dualism or a reductive monism--either a radical separation of mind and body or the reduction of mind to body. But from its origins in the writings of the Stoics, the first thoroughgoing materialists, another view has acknowledged that no forms of materialism can be completely self-inclusive--space, time, the void, and sense are the incorporeal conditions of all that is corporeal or material. In The Incorporeal Elizabeth Grosz argues that the ideal is inherent in the material and the material in the ideal, and, by tracing its development over time, she makes the case that this same idea reasserts itself in different intellectual contexts. Grosz shows that not only are idealism and materialism inextricably linked but that this "belonging together" of the entirety of ideality and the entirety of materiality is not mediated or created by human consciousness. Instead, it is an ontological condition for the development of human consciousness. Grosz draws from Spinoza's material and ideal concept of substance, Nietzsche's amor fati, Deleuze and Guattari's plane of immanence, Simondon's preindividual, and Raymond Ruyer's self-survey or autoaffection to show that the world preexists the evolution of the human and that its material and incorporeal forces are the conditions for all forms of life, human and nonhuman alike. A masterwork by an eminent theoretician, The Incorporeal offers profound new insight into the mind-body problem
From Edison's invention of the phonograph through contemporary field recording and sound installation, artists have become attracted to those domains against which music has always defined itself: noise, silence, and environmental sound. Christoph Cox argues that these developments in the sonic arts are not only aesthetically but also philosophically significant, revealing sound to be a continuous material flow to which human expressions contribute but which precedes and exceeds those expressions. Cox shows how, over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, philosophers and sonic artists have explored this "sonic flux." Through the philosophical analysis of works by John Cage, Maryanne Amacher, Max Neuhaus, Christian Marclay, and many others, Sonic Flux contributes to the development of a materialist metaphysics and poses a challenge to the prevailing positions in cultural theory, proposing a realist and materialist aesthetics able to account not only for sonic art but for artistic production in general.
This achingly jawdropping book follows the evolution of dentistry throughout the world from the Bronze Age to the present day, presenting captivating and grim illustrations of the tools and techniques of dentistry through the ages. Organized chronologically, The Smile Stealers interleaves beautiful and gruesome technical illustrations and paintings from the Wellcome Collection's unique archive of material from Europe, America and the Far East with seven authoritative and eloquent themed articles from medical historian Richard Barnett. A comprehensive review of the development of the trade and discipline of dentistry, it covers topics as diverse as the very first dentures (produced by the Etruscans in the seventh century bce); the smile revolution in 18th-century portraiture; and the role of dentistry in forensic science - all in one beautifully illustrated volume. Extending the cult of the medically macabre begun by its predecessors The Sick Rose and Crucial Interventions, The Smile Stealers is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of the horrific and the beautiful alike as it probes the growth of dentistry - from pulling out bad teeth to reconstructing jaws, and from painful action to pain-free interventions and the pursuit of the perfect smile.
Fifty paintings, reproduced in color, by an international array of contemporary artists, show the aptness and relevance of painting in an era of uncertainty. In an age of global instability, the threat of chaos looms. Or is the threat more spectral than real? The fear of chaos may simply be our response to living in a world controlled by powerful forces beyond our understanding. Chaos and Awe demonstrates the aptness and relevance of painting as a medium for expressing the uncertainty of our era. It presents more than fifty paintings, by an international array of contemporary artists, that induce sensations of disturbance, curiosity, and expansiveness-the new sublime, derived not from the unfathomable mystery of nature but from the hidden and often insidious forces of culture. Essays by art historians and "painters who write" offer context and illumination. Chaos and Awe, which accompanies a major exhibition at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, shows that painting's capacity to represent the liminal space between the real and the virtual allows it to portray the shifting ground of today's social imaginary. With suggestions of fragmentation, instability, and murkiness, these paintings enclose what seems to be (as Simon Morley writes in his essay) "wholly unenclosable." The paintings presented offer visions of interconnected forces invisibly shaping contemporary global experience; portray theintractability of veiled racial animus and the phantoms of the past that continue to haunt the present; suggest, through semi-abstract languages, long-term conflicts played out through nationalism and extremism; depict the conjunction of cultures not as flashpoints but in terms of cross-fertilization and a new hybridity; convey the role of digital technology in intertwining knowledge and doubt; express the elusive nature of perception through floating forms, liquid, gas, flame, and light; and cast instability and chaos as opportunities to expand our perceptions of the connectedness of knowledge, intuition, and spirituality. Painters Franz Ackermann, Ahmed Alsoudani, Ghada Amer, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Radcliffe Bailey, Ali Banisadr, Pedro Barbeito, Jeremy Blake, Matti Braun, Dean Byington, Hamlett Dobbins, Nogah Engler, Anoka Faruqee, Barnaby Furnas, Ellen Gallagher, Adrian Ghenie, Wayne Gonzales, Wade Guyton, Rokni Haerizadeh, Peter Halley, Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Rashid Johnson, Guillermo Kuitca, Heather Gwen Martin, Julie Mehretu, Jiha Moon, Wangechi Mutu, James Perrin, Neo Rauch, Matthew Ritchie, Rachel Rossin, Pat Steir, Barbara Takenaga, Dannielle Tegeder, Kazuki Umezawa, Charline von Heyl, Sarah Walker, Corinne Wasmuht, Sue Williams Contributors Media Farzin Media Farzin is a writer, editor, and educator. Her writings have appeared in Bidoun, Artforum, Afterimage, and Art-Agenda online. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts and the Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York. Simon Morley is an artist and Professor at Dankook University in Korea. He is the author of Writing on the Wall: Word and Image in Modern Art and editor of The Sublime (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery). Matthew Ritchie's work is regularly exhibited worldwide and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has written for Artforum, Flash Art, Art & Text, October, and the Contemporary Arts Journal. He lectures widely and is currently a Mentor Professor in the Graduate Visual Arts Program at Columbia University. Copublished with the Frist Art Museum, Nashville
Black is Beautiful identifies and explores the most significant philosophical issues that emerge from the aesthetic dimensions of black life, providing a long-overdue synthesis and the first extended philosophical treatment of this crucial subject. * The first extended philosophical treatment of an important subject that has been almost entirely neglected by philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of art * Takes an important step in assembling black aesthetics as an object of philosophical study * Unites two areas of scholarship for the first time philosophical aesthetics and black cultural theory, dissolving the dilemma of either studying philosophy, or studying black expressive culture * Brings a wide range of fields into conversation with one another from visual culture studies and art history to analytic philosophy to musicology producing mutually illuminating approaches that challenge some of the basic suppositions of each * Well-balanced, up-to-date, and beautifully written as well as inventive and insightful
From Plato's "Ion" to works by contemporary philosophers, this
anthology showcases classic texts to illuminate the development of
philosophical thought about art and the aesthetic. This volume is
the most comprehensive collection of readings on aesthetics and the
philosophy of art currently available.
A rigorous new thinking of the photograph in its relation to science, philosophy, and art, so as to discover an essence of photography that precedes its historical, technological, and aesthetic conditions. If philosophy has always understood its relation to the world according to the model of the instantaneous flash of a photographic shot, how can there be a "philosophy of photography" that is not viciously self-reflexive? Challenging the assumptions made by any theory of photography that leaves its own "onto-photo-logical" conditions uninterrogated, Laruelle thinks the photograph non-philosophically, so as to discover an essence of photography that precedes its historical, technological and aesthetic conditions. The Concept of Non-Photography develops a rigorous new thinking of the photograph in its relation to science, philosophy, and art, and introduces the reader to all of the key concepts of Laruelle's "non-philosophy."
The Architecture of Happiness is Alain de Botton's exploration of the hidden links between buildings and our well being. In The Architecture of Happiness, bestselling author Alain de Botton explores one of our most intense but often hidden love affairs: with our houses and their furnishings. He asks: What makes a house truly beautiful? Why are many new houses so ugly? Why do we argue so bitterly about sofas and pictures - and can differences of taste ever be satisfactorily resolved? To answer these questions and many more, de Botton looks at buildings across the world, from medieval wooden huts to modern skyscrapers; he examines sofas and cathedrals, tea sets and office complexes, and teases out a host of often surprising philosophical insights. The Architecture of Happiness will take you on a beguiling tour through the history and psychology of architecture and interior design, and will change the way you look at your home. 'Engaging and intelligent . . . full of splendid ideas, happily and beautifully expressed' Independent
In "The Meaning of the Body," Mark Johnson continues his pioneering
work on the exciting connections between cognitive science,
language, and meaning first begun in the classic "Metaphors We Live
By," Johnson uses recent research into infant psychology to show
how the body generates meaning even before self-consciousness has
fully developed. From there he turns to cognitive neuroscience to
further explore the bodily origins of meaning, thought, and
language and examines the many dimensions of meaning--including
images, qualities, emotions, and metaphors--that are all rooted in
the body's physical encounters with the world. Drawing on the
psychology of art and pragmatist philosophy, Johnson argues that
all of these aspects of meaning-making are fundamentally aesthetic.
He concludes that the arts are the culmination of human attempts to
find meaning and that studying the aesthetic dimensions of our
experience is crucial to unlocking meaning's bodily sources.
'Pain and pleasure are simple ideas, incapable of definition.' In 1757 the 27-year-old Edmund Burke argued that our aesthetic responses are experienced as pure emotional arousal, unencumbered by intellectual considerations. In so doing he overturned the Platonic tradition in aesthetics that had prevailed from antiquity until the eighteenth century, and replaced metaphysics with psychology and even physiology as the basis for the subject. Burke's theory of beauty encompasses the female form, nature, art, and poetry, and he analyses our delight in sublime effects that thrill and excite us. His revolution in method continues to have repercussions in the aesthetic theories of today, and his revolution in sensibility has paved the way for literary and artistic movements from the Gothic novel through Romanticism, twentieth-century painting, and beyond. In this new edition Paul Guyer conducts the reader through Burke's Enquiry, focusing on its place in the history of aesthetics and highlighting its innovations, as well as its influence on many subsequent authors from Kant and Schiller to Ruskin and Nietzsche. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Empathy has for a long time, at least since the eighteenth century, been seen as centrally important in relation to our capacity to gain a grasp of the content of other people's minds, and predict and explain what they will think, feel, and do; and in relation to our capacity to respond to others ethically. In addition, empathy is seen as having a central role in aesthetics, in the understanding of our engagement with works of art and with fictional characters. A fuller understanding of empathy is now offered by the interaction of research in science and the humanities. Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives draws together nineteen original chapters by leading researchers across several disciplines, together with an extensive Introduction by the editors. The individual chapters reveal how important it is, in a wide range of fields of enquiry, to bring to bear an understanding of the role of empathy in its various guises. This volume offers the ideal starting-point for the exploration of this intriguing aspect of human life.
If art and science have one thing in common, it's a hunger for the new-new ideas and innovations, new ways of seeing and depicting the world. But that desire for novelty carries with it a fundamental philosophical problem: If everything has to come from something, how can anything truly new emerge? Is novelty even possible? In Novelty, Michael North takes us on a dazzling tour of more than two millennia of thinking about the problem of the new, from the puzzles of the pre-Socratics all the way up to the art world of the 1960s and '70s. The terms of the debate, North shows, were established before Plato, and have changed very little since: novelty, philosophers argued, could only arise from either recurrence or recombination. The former, found in nature's cycles of renewal, and the latter, seen most clearly in the workings of language, between them have accounted for nearly all the ways in which novelty has been conceived in Western history, taking in reformation, renaissance, invention, revolution, and even evolution. As he pursues this idea through centuries and across disciplines, North exhibits astonishing range, drawing on figures as diverse as Charles Darwin and Robert Smithson, Thomas Kuhn and Ezra Pound, Norbert Wiener and Andy Warhol, all of whom offer different ways of grappling with the idea of originality. Novelty, North demonstrates, remains a central problem of contemporary science and literature-an ever-receding target that, in its complexity and evasiveness, continues to inspire and propel the modern. A heady, ambitious intellectual feast, Novelty is rich with insight, a masterpiece of perceptive synthesis.
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