Category Archives: Uncategorized

Aesthetics Very Broadly Again

Stepping back for a moment to see where we are. In general terms, ‘aesthetics’ has two possible meanings: it can refer to a field of philosophy; or it can refer to a mode of experience. In relation to the first … Continue reading

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Additonal Note on the Carnivalesque

Just recently (2019), I discover that Ranciere has spoken about carnival, recognising it as a cultural form that is akin to the subversive moments “when people do a multiplicity of things: performances, acts or parties whose unruliness undermines the forces … Continue reading

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Carnivalesque Aesthetics

I am suspicious of the grand tri-partite aesthetic schemes of Ranciere and Badiou. They refer to historical instances and yet seem more philosophically than historically directed. There is Plato, then Aristotle and finally modernity. A very abbreviated set of reference … Continue reading

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Ranciere and Badiou

How can we conceive the relationship between Ranciere and Badiou’s aesthetics? Ranciere delineates three major Western ‘image regimes’: the ethical regime of the image, which he associates with Plato’s iconoclasm (his banishment of the poets from his ideal republic); the … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Discomfort

My interest is not so much in the ordinary sense of the aesthetic than in its speculative possibility. There is an influential critique of aesthetics that questions its claims to universalism and analyses its immediate cultural and political legibility. Bourdieu, … Continue reading

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Dreaming

Descartes famously founds modern philosophy through a gesture of radical doubt. He poses the question, what if an evil genie staged every aspect of the experiential world? What if we were all the time dreaming? What if all our experience … Continue reading

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Truth and Appearance

The truth of appearance…and the appearance of truth. The truth of appearance involves an interrogation of appearance as potentially alien to truth. The suspicion of appearance. The appearance of truth raises the problem that truth, which aims to distinguish itself … Continue reading

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Claims to be an Artist

What does it mean within the context of contemporary socially engaged art practice to claim that I am an artist? Particularly when I have no intention of producing anything like conventional artistic work? I may be working with teachers, engineers, … Continue reading

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Heidegger and Ranciere

At one level, Heidegger and Ranciere are opposed on the relationship between art and aesthetics. Heidegger criticises aesthetics as a form of enframing, privileging instead a notion of art as a sphere of ontological truth. Ranciere, on the other hand, … Continue reading

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The Wider Relevance of Aesthetics

Ranciere argues that historically there is a close association between philosophical aesthetics and the development of what he terms ‘the aesthetic regime of art’. In this manner he questions efforts to separate these two – to imagine either that art … Continue reading

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The Aesthetic has yet to be Thought

There is a blindspot in the contemporary debate about the notion of the aesthetic, which is the aesthetic itself, assuming that it makes any sense to refer to the aesthetic itself, when it appears always more or less as a … Continue reading

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Aesthetics and Astronomy

Aesthetics as a single star. Then the awareness of its place in a conceptual constellation. And the sense of this constellation’s place in the wider night sky. But it would have to be noted that there is not a single … Continue reading

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Limit of Aesthetics

I argue that field of aesthetic practice is broader than art, that it relates to wider dimensions of experience. Unlike art, which takes shape as a particular and idiosyncratic social institution and form of cultural practice, aesthetics characterises a qualitative … Continue reading

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Aesthetic preconceptions

What is the aesthetic? I continue to pose this question to myself. It tends to summon all kinds of qualifications. For instance, in line with a mainstream view, I remind myself that the notion of the aesthetic as a distinct … Continue reading

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Critical Aesthetics

I would like to hold on to a notion of critical aesthetics. It provides an underlying motivation for this work, which aims to consider alternatives to current material and social relations. This has traditionally involved drawing perverse value from Kant’s … Continue reading

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On the Historicity of Aesthetics

It is a critical commonplace to insist that the notion of the aesthetic is a properly modern phenomenon, emerging as a means of reconciling tensions between aspects of identity, community and socio-economic reality that are the product of post-Enlightenment regimes … Continue reading

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Art and Aesthetics

What is wrong with art? Why prefer the term ‘aesthetics’ to ‘art’? What is meant by these two terms? More importantly, what meaning can we make of these two terms? Any talk of ‘making’ instantly brings to mind the thought … Continue reading

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Aesthetics and Systems

Systems are articulated things. They represent a set of differentiations. At the same time they are also whole things. The problem is that as systems get more complex, the sense of their wholeness becomes more and more obscure. Increasing lower … Continue reading

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Aesthetics: System and Afterthought

Aesthetics emerges as a distinct field within the context of European Enlightenment efforts to develop a coherent overall philosophical system that can account for all aspects of existence and human experience. It is conceived initially, in the work of German … Continue reading

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Thinking Aesthetics More Generally: How and for What Purpose?

There have been numerous contemporary efforts to decouple aesthetics from art – both within modern art itself and in strands of philosophy that focus on specialised topics such as environmental aesthetics or the aesthetics of everyday life. The latter fields … Continue reading

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The Promiscuity of Aesthetics

Almost anything can be regarded in aesthetic terms. Any experience, any material or immaterial thing, can be regarded in terms of sensible or insensible (formal) qualities that somehow engage us. I realise that ‘engage us’ is terribly vague, but how … Continue reading

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Aesthetics

Aesthetics is less a mode of experience as such than an effort to conceive features of experience that have proved awkward to conceive within the philosophical tradition. So if, for instance, Descartes, in line with a great deal of ancient … Continue reading

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Aesthetics

Why am I so focused on the term ‘aesthetics’? It is not as though I can make it mean whatever I like, yet it seems to represents a more open field of possibility than the notion of art. I’m not … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Practice 2

The aim is to propose a notion of aesthetic practice. My argument is that aesthetic practice is a broader field than artistic practice. For a start, it involves more than simply making things (the etymology of the term ‘art’ relates … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Practice

It occurs to me that there may be some value in conceiving a notion of aesthetic practice. Aesthetics typically appears as a field that is secondary to the primary phenomenon of art (and art practice), but I wish to argue … Continue reading

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