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Drawing on art, media, and phenomenological sources, Showing Off!: A Philosophy of Image challenges much recent thought by proposing a fundamentally positive relationship between visuality and the ethical. In philosophy, cultural studies and art, relationships between visuality and the ethical are usually theorized in negative terms, according to the dyadic logics of seeing on the one hand, and being seen, on the other. Here, agency and power are assumed to operate either on the side of those who see, or on the side of those who control the means by which people and things enter into visibility. To be seen, by contrast - when it occurs outside of those parameters of control- is to be at a disadvantage; hence, for instance, contemporary theorist Peggy Phelan's rejection of the idea, central to activist practices of the 1970's and 80's, that projects of political emancipation must be intertwined with, and are dependent on, processes of 'making oneself visible'. Acknowledgment of the vulnerability of visibility also underlies the realities of life lived within increasingly pervasive systems of imposed and self-imposed surveillance, and apparently confident public performances of visual self display. Showing Off!: A Philosophy of Image is written against the backdrop of these phenomena, positions and concerns, but asks what happens to our debates about visibility when a third term, that of 'self-showing', is brought into play. Indeed, it proposes a fundamentally positive relationship between visuality and the ethical, one primarily rooted not in acts of open and non-oppressive seeing or spectating, as might be expected, but rather in our capacity to inhabit both the risks and the possibilities of our own visible being. In other words, this book maintains that the proper site of generosity and agency within any visual encounter is located not on the side of sight, but on that of self-showing - or showing off!
The development of Ranciere's philosophical work, from his formative years through the political and methodological break with Louis Althusser and the lessons of May 68, is documented here, as are the confrontations with other thinkers, the controversies and occasional misunderstandings. So too are the unity of his work and the distinctive style of his thinking, despite the frequent disconnect between politics and aesthetics and the subterranean movement between categories and works. Lastly one sees his view of our age, and of our age's many different and competing realities. What we gain in the end is a rich and multi-layered portrait of a life and a body of thought dedicated to the exercise of philosophy and to the emergence of possible new worlds.
Despite their title, Gilles Deleuze's Cinema books are not 'about' the cinema: they are works of philosophy first and foremost, even if this has yet to be fully recognised. Deleuze turns to the cinema in order to address specific philosophical problems - precisely because the formal resources of the cinema enable it to 'think' the relation between movement and duration in ways that philosophy cannot. Allan James Thomas unpacks the nature of the philosophical problems that Deleuze turns to the cinema to resolve, and shows both how and why the resources of the cinema enable him to do so where philosophy alone cannot. Thomas offers new insights into the conceptual underpinnings both of the Cinema books themselves and of the trajectory of Deleuzian philosophy as a whole.
The first edition of Place and Experience established Jeff Malpas as one of the leading philosophers and thinkers of place and space and provided a creative and refreshing alternative to prevailing post-structuralist and postmodern theories of place. It is a foundational and ground-breaking book in its attempt to lay out a sustained and rigorous account of place and its significance. The main argument of Place and Experience has three strands: first, that human being is inextricably bound to place; second, that place encompasses subjectivity and objectivity, being reducible to neither but foundational to both; and third that place, which is distinct from, but also related to space and time, is methodologically and ontologically fundamental. The development of this argument involves considerations concerning the nature of place and its relation to space and time; the character of that mode of philosophical investigation that is oriented to place and that is referred to as `philosophical topography'; the nature of subjectivity and objectivity as inter-related concepts that also connect with intersubjectivity; and the way place is tied to memory, identity, and the self. Malpas draws on a rich array of writers and philosophers, including Wordsworth, Kant, Proust, Heidegger and Donald Davidson. This second edition is revised throughout, including a new chapter on place and technological modernity, especially the seeming loss of place in the contemporary world, and a new Foreword by Edward Casey. It also includes a new set of additional features, such as illustrations, annotated further reading, and a glossary, which make this second edition more useful to teachers and students alike.
Philosophers have considered questions raised by the nature of art, of beauty, and critical appreciation since ancient times, and the discipline of aesthetics has a long tradition that stretches from Plato to the present. Aesthetics has also been the subject of a number of theoretical challenges that investigate the conceptual frameworks customarily assumed by theories of art.
This collection of essays assembles classic and contemporary texts to present both the tradition of aesthetic theory and the kinds of questions and challenges that it confronts today, both from other cultural traditions and from theoretical movements such as feminism and postmodernism.
Explores the role of a significant yet elusive feature of the French landscape in literature, philosophy, and art.
No values figure as pervasively and intimately in our lives as beauty and other aesthetic values. They animate the arts, as well as design, fashion, food, and entertainment. They orient us upon the natural world. And we even find them in the deepest insights of science and mathematics. For centuries, however, philosophers and other thinkers have identified beauty with what brings pleasure. Concerned that aesthetic hedonism has led us to question beauty's significance, Dominic McIver Lopes offers an entirely new theory of beauty in this volume. Beauty engages us in action, in concert with others, in the context of social networks. Lopes's 'network theory' explains the social dimension of aesthetic agency, the tie between beauty and pleasure, the importance of disagreement in matters of taste, and the reality of aesthetic values as denizens of the natural world. The two closing chapters shed light on why aesthetic engagement is so important to quality of life, and why it deserves (and gets) lavish public support. Being for Beauty offers a fresh contribution to aesthetics but also to thinking about metanormativity, the metaphysics of value, and virtue theory.
The relevance of painting has been questioned many times over the last century, by the arrival of photography, installation art and digital technologies. But rather than accept the death of painting, Mark Titmarsh traces a paradoxical interface between this art form and its opposing forces to define a new practice known as `expanded painting' giving the term historical context, theoretical structure and an important place in contemporary practice. As the formal boundaries tumble, the being of painting expands to become a kind of total art incorporating all other media including sculpture, video and performance. Painting is considered from three different perspectives: ethnology, art theory and ontology. From an ethnological point of view, painting is one of any number of activities that takes place within a culture. In art theory terms, painting is understood to produce objects of interest for humanities disciplines. Yet painting as a medium often challenges both its object and image status, `expanding' and creating hybrid works between painting, objects, screen media and text. Ontologically, painting is understood as an object of aesthetic discourse that in turn reflects historical states of being. Thus, Expanded Painting delivers a new kind of saying, a post-aesthetic discourse that is attuned to an uncanny tension between the presence and absence of painting.
In Endless Andness, Mieke Bal pioneers a new understanding of the political potential of abstract art which does not passively yield its meaning to the viewer but creates it anew - an art perceived not only through the retina but experienced viscerally. In this book, the third of her companion volumes on art's political agency, Bal explores perception through an intense engagement with the work of Belgian sculptor Ann Veronica Janssens. In a series of vividly-recalled encounters with Janssen's practice over a number of years, Balpresents a new conception of embodied perception - art experienced in a body conjured into participation and transformed by the experience. From Janssens' 'mist room' works and the CorpsNoir sculptures through to the fugitive, porous Aerogel, Bal traces an art which eludes the subject-object distinction to alter our ideas about the potential of political art in abstract and figurative forms. Enticing us simultaneously to lose ourselves and to come home, the tenuous materiality of installation art empowers those who live in the permanently lost and migratoryc ondition that characterizes contemporary experience. In celebrating and interrogating the work of this prolific and innovative artist, Mieke Baltransforms our understanding of non-representational art to create a new awareness of perception and performance in the shared spaces of our world.
Deleuze's publications have attracted enormous attention, but scant attention has been paid to the existential relevance of Deleuze's writings. In the lineage of Nietzsche, Life Drawing develops a fully affirmative Deleuzean aesthetics of existence. For Foucault and Nehamas, the challenge of an aesthetics of existence is to make your life, in one way or another, a work of art. In contrast, Bearn argues that art is too narrow a concept to guide this kind of existential project. He turns instead to the more generous notion of beauty, but he argues that the philosophical tradition has mostly misconceived beauty in terms of perfection. Heraclitus and Kant are well-known exceptions to this mistake, and Bearn suggests that because Heraclitean becoming is beyond conceptual characterization, it promises a sensualized experience akin to what Kant called free beauty. In this new aesthetics of existence, the challenge is to become beautiful by releasing a Deleuzean becoming: becoming becoming. Bearn's readings of philosophical texts-by Wittgenstein, Derrida, Plato, and others-will be of interest in their own right.
Film, Philosophy, and Reality: Ancient Greece to Godard is an original contribution to film-philosophy that shows how thinking about movies can lead us into a richer appreciation and understanding of both reality and the nature of human experience. Focused on the question of the relationship between how things seem to us and how they really are, it is at once an introduction to philosophy through film and an introduction to film through philosophy. The book is divided into three parts. The first is an introduction to philosophy and film, designed for the reader with little background in one or the other subject. The second examines the philosophical importance of the distinction between appearance and reality, and shows that reflection upon this distinction is naturally provoked by the experience of watching movies. The final part takes a close and careful look at the style and techniques of Jean-Luc Godard's groundbreaking film Breathless in order to illustrate how such themes can be explored cinematically. The book addresses topics such as: Film: what it is and how to understand it The methods and concerns of philosophy The nature of cinematic appearances The history of metaphysics The relationship between cinema and life The philosophical relevance of film techniques. With a glossary of key thinkers, terms, and concepts, as well as sections on suggested films and further reading, this textbook will appeal to lecturers and students in undergraduate philosophy and film courses, and in courses focused on Philosophy of Film, Philosophy and Film, or Film-Philosophy.
This book questions the de facto dominance of narrative when watching films. Using the film musical as a case study, this book explores whether an alternative spatial understanding of film can offer alternative readings to narrative. For instance, how do film aesthetics influence our interaction with the film? Can camera movement and music make us `feel' cinema? Can the film world bleed into our own? Utilising film musicals ranging from those by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000), Feeling Film: A Spatial Approach investigates how we might go about understanding the audience's spatial relationship with film aesthetics, what it might look like, and the tools needed to conduct analysis.
From William Blake through to Iain Sinclair, literature has sought to engage with and transform urban space. Architects now seek the input of poets, and storytelling is employed in urban regeneration. Writing Urban Space investigates this relationship between imaginative writing and the built environment.
A complete and original theory of aesthetics based on Marx and Althusser in the modernist Marxist tradition (Brecht, Althusser, Benjamin, Adorno). The main concepts that arise from this work are: the aesthetic level of practice, aesthetic state apparatuses, aesthetic interpellation, and pseudo dialectics, all of which are used to understand the role of aesthetic experience and its place in everyday life. This book looks at feelings, affections, dispositions, sensibilities and sensuality, and their social role in art, tradition, ritual, and taboo. With the classic Marxist concepts of base and superstructure divided into economic, ideological, and political levels, the aesthetic level of practice is the area that has traditionally been missing or misrepresented for political reasons. This aesthetic level of practice fuels and supports the media, or as Althusser described it the traffic between base and superstructure. From this vantage point, the aesthetic state apparatuses can be analysed both in the past, for example in art history, and today, in contemporary politics. What role do art, feelings and alienation play in our culture?
What is depiction? A new answer is given to this venerable question by providing a syncretistic theory of depiction that tries to combine the merits of the previous theories on the matter while dropping their defects. Thus, not only perceptual, but also both conventional and causal factors contribute in making something a picture of something else.
Lunchbox philosophy, or the world according to the Japanese lunchbox: how an object of sublime beauty offers a key to understanding Japanese aesthetics, design, and culture. The Makunouchi Bento, or traditional Japanese lunchbox, is a highly lacquered wooden box divided into quadrants, each of which contains different delicacies. It is also one of the most familiar images of Japan's domestic environment. When presented to the diner, the Japanese lunchbox seems straightforward enough; each of four food portions resides in its own compartment, apparently obeying a strict lunchbox geometry. So far, just food. But Kenji Ekuan reveals that a much deeper reading is possible, one that sees the lunchbox as nothing less than a key to an understanding of Japanese civilization, the spirit of form, and the aesthetic ideal in which the many are reduced to one. Ekuan reads the Japanese lunchbox as both object and metaphor. It is one of this book's many charms that he is able to see it as both simultaneously. He compares the visual pleasures of the Zen lunchbox to an aerial view of the Japanese archipelago; he invites us to savor its quadripartite structure as we savor the four seasons. In so doing, he unlocks the secrets of ancient Japanese rituals, celebrates the aesthetics of Japanese design, explores the contours of Japanese landscapes and technology, and delineates the forty-eight rules of the etiquette of Japanese form. With an agility more characteristic of poetry than of design criticism, he connects everything from food, television, motorcycles, package tours, and department stores to landscape, ecology, computers, and radios, all the while keeping his eye on his subject. In this book of magical transformations, nothing is what it first appears, but everything is deepened by "lunchbox theory." Consider the influence of the lunchbox on TV viewing, for example: chopsticks are used to stroll through a meal, just as remote control devices are used to browse TV channels. This book reveals a world of secret connections between its covers, in the spirit of the lunchbox itself.
This volume is an interdisciplinary consideration of late medieval art and texts, falling into two parts: first, the iconography and context of the great Doom wall painting over the tower arch at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, and second, Carthusian studies treating fragmentary wall paintings in the Carthusian monastery near Coventry; the devotional images in the Carthusian Miscellany; and meditation for "simple souls" in the Carthusian Nicholas Love's Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ. Emphasis is on such aspects as memory, participative theology, devotional images, meditative practice, and techniques of constructing patterns of sacred imagery.
No pictorial device in nineteenth-century French painting more clearly represented the free-ranging self than the loose brushstroke. From the romantics through the impressionists and post-impressionists, the brushstroke bespoke autonomous artistic individuality and freedom from convention. Yet the question of how much we can credit to the individual brushstroke is complicated-and in Brushstroke and Emergence, James D. Herbert uses that question as a starting point for an extended essay that draws on philosophy of mind, the science of emergence, and art history. Brushstrokes, he reminds us, are as much creatures of habit and embodied experience as they are of intent. When they gather in great numbers they take on a life of their own, out of which emerge complexity and meaning. Analyzing ten paintings by Courbet, Manet, Cezanne, Monet, Seurat, and Picasso, Herbert exposes vital relationships between intention and habit, the singular and the complex. In doing so, he uncovers a space worthy of historical and aesthetic analysis between the brushstroke and the self.
This volume addresses a problem of high controversy: Relating the Holocaust to poetic and aesthetic phenomena has often been seen as a taboo, as only authentic testimonies, documents, or at least unliterary, prosaic approaches were considered appropriate for dealing with the topic. However, from the very beginning of Holocaust literature and culture, there were tendencies towards literarisation, poetisation, and ornamentalisation. Nowadays, aesthetic approaches -- also in provocative, taboo-breaking ways -- are more and more regarded as important instruments to evoke the attention required for keeping the cataclysm in the collective memory. The contributions of the volume using examples predominantly from Polish, Czech, and German Holocaust literature and culture focus on selected aspects of this complex of problems, such as: poetry of concentration camp detainees; lyrical poetry about the Holocaust; poetical tendencies in narrative literature and drama; ornamental prose about the Holocaust; devices and functions of aestheticisation in Holocaust literature and culture.
In this first English translation of one of his most important works, " Statues: The Second Book of Foundations, "Michel Henry""presents a statue as more than a static entity. A statue for Serres is the basis for knowledge, society, the subject and object, the world and experience. Through his prescient analysis of statues and how we create and respond to art, Henry demonstrates how sacrificial art founded society and through this reflects on the centrality of death and the dead body to the human condition.Approaching the problem from multiple angles, Serres comments on Verne's "Around the Moon," Rodin's "The Gates of Hell," the Eiffel Tower, cemeteries, short stories by Maupassant, fables by La Fontaine, clothing and the paintings of Carpaccio, the Challenger disaster and Baal. Each section covers a different time period and statuary topic, ranging from four thousand years ago to 1986. Expository, lyrical, fictionalized and hallucinatory, "Statues" does not follow a linear time sequence but rather plays with time and place, history and story in order to provoke us into thinking in entirely new ways.Through mythic and poetic meditations on various kinds of descent into the underworld and new insights into the relation of the subject and object and their foundation in death, "Statues" contains great treasures and provocations for philosophers, literary critics, art historians and sociologists.
What is the relationship between our conception of humans as
producers or creators; as consumers of taste and pleasure; and as
creators of value? Combining cultural history, economics, and
literary criticism, Regenia Gagnier's new work traces the parallel
development of economic and aesthetic theory, offering a shrewd
reading of humans as workers and wanters, born of labor and desire.
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