Volume 18. Krystyna Wilkoszewska (ed.). Aesthetics in Action. International Yearbook of Aesthetics. Volume 18. 2014 Content The 18th…More...
The competition between philosophy and the arts can be traced back to the ancient times. In the Twentieth Century, this competition reached its culmination when art was pronounced reaching its end while aesthetics was declared irrelevant to the arts. Formalism abandoned the beautiful in aestheticism, Dadaism betrayed the autonomous or artistic merit in formalism, finally the contemporary conceptual art rejected the aesthetic, and so aesthetics or philosophy of art was totally expelled from the art world. Now we reach a historical stage where art and aesthetics are seeking for a reconciliation. The essays in this book show this new tendency in different ways.
Peng Feng is professor of aesthetics and art criticism at Peking University. He is also a playwright, freelance art critic and curator of exhibitions at international level. He has curated over 200 art exhibitions including the China Pavilion at the 54. international art exhibition of Venice Biennale 2011, The 1. International Sculpture Exhibition of Datong Biennale 2011, and The 1. International Art Exhibition of China Xinjiang Biennale. He has published 15 books including Return of Presence: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory (Beijing: China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Press, 2016); Arts Studies (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2016), Cross- Disciplines: The Adventure of Aesthetics in Contemporary Art (Beijing: Beijing Normal University Press, 2015); Modern Chinese Aesthetics (Nanjing: Fenghuang Press, 2013); Pervasion: China Pavilion at the 54. International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Beijing: People’s Art Press, 2012); Introduction to Aesthetics (Shanghai: Fudan University, 2011); Return of Beauty: 11 Issues of Contemporary Aesthetics (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2009); Perfect Nature (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2005); The Western Aesthetics and the Western Art (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2005), and so on. Since 2013, his musical The Red Lantern has been travelling in China.
The 18th volume of the International Yearbook of Aesthetics comprises a selection of papers presented at the 19th International Congress of Aesthetics, which took place in Cracow in 2013. The Congress entitled “Aesthetics in Action” was intended to cover an extended research area of aesthetics going beyond the fine arts towards various forms of human practice. In this way it bore witness to the transformation that aesthetics has been undergoing for a few decades at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Krystyna Wilkoszewska is professor of philosophy and aesthetics and Head of the Department of Aesthetics at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. She is President of the Polish Society of Aesthetics and Director of John Dewey Research Center founded by her at the Jagiellonian University. She is a delegate in the Executive Committee in the International Association for Aesthetics and a member of Board in Central European Pragmatist Forum. She was awarded research grants from ACLS and Humboldt Foundation. Her main interest is in pragmatist philosophy and aesthetics, somaesthetics, postmodern philosophy and art, eco-aesthetics, transcultural studies. She published Art as the Rhythm of Life: Reconstruction of John Dewey’s Philosophy of Art; Postmodernism in Philosophy and Art and edited among others three volume Japanese Aesthetics; Vision and Revision; Transcultural Aesthetics; Aesthetics and Cultures. She is editor of the series: “Aesthetics in the World”, “Classics of Polish Aesthetics”.
From the President
We just enjoyed a beautiful and busy autumn, and now winter is here with its own kind of beauty. In Beijing these days you may hear mention of ‘APEC blue’ - an expression of hope that air pollution will be eventually controlled. In keeping with the spirit of this idea, many Beijing residents show pictures through We Chat, a micro-electronic communication channel, of the beauty of cities free of pollution. Recently, I visited Beihai Park (North Sea Park), and Summer Palace in Beijing, and found that without pollution, Beijing is indeed a very beautiful city.
Concerning the city, I recall Heinz Paetzold’s view that our interest in beauty began with the countryside while aesthetics as a subject originates from cities. Now more and more people come into cities across the world. This movement is even more obvious in China, where hundreds millions of people are moving to cities. The migration from countryside to cities has been and continues to be the greatest change in China. China began as a country traditionally consisting of farmers. In such a rapid development of cities, aesthetics becomes of crucial importance, since they should provide beautiful places for living. The beauty of cities should not just be the symbol of wealth, nor simply a place for the exhibition of science and technology. Cities are places for people to live, rather than merely places for enjoying the views of skyscrapers. We need the skylines of cities, but also livability.
Over the past several months, I have travelled to conferences both in China, and in Australia, Germany, Britain and Russia. I was happy to visit Yasnaya Polyana, home of Leo Tolstoy, and the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. In the respective conferences, we discussed issues including the news media, ecological aesthetics, and the aesthetics of cities.
In other news: the United States is now offering Chinese citizens a ten-year visa. Similarly, friends from US can also obtain a ten-year visa for visits to China. This change allows for much greater flexibility in making travel plans between the USA and China. I hope that our friends from Europe can also soon enjoy the same travel conveniences.
The IAA officers and our colleagues in Belgrade are now preparing our Executive Meeting and the IAA interim Conference in Belgrade (June 25-28, 2015). I will be happy to meet IAA delegates and guests in Belgrade where we will gather to discuss important issues in connection with our association and the pursuit of research in aesthetics.
Recently, the Chinese Society for Aesthetics elected new leadership, and I have been chosen as president of the society. Our next national congress is in the May in Chengdu (a city some of you visited in 2006). I hope we can all meet again soon at a conference in a beautiful Chinese city.
Gao Jianping, IAA President
University of Antwerp & VU-University Amsterdam
September, 18-20, 2014, Antwerp
Ricoeur can be called the philosopher of all dialogues. He engaged virtually all the great movements of thought, entered into debate with scientists, and voices his concerns in the public debate. He never sought to engage in polemics but tried to engage seemingly unbridgeable positions or thinkers in a fruitful dialogue. Ricoeur was not a radical thinker in search of extremes, but rather committed to mediate between conflicting philosophers and streams of thought, therein lies part of his originality and creativity. Where others sees dichotomy, he sees dialectic. In this regard one cannot but note how often Ricoeur uses the word between (entre) in the titles of his articles, always in search of connections, confrontations, and unexpected syntheses between thinkers who have preceded him. He really is a thinker of the between.
But does Ricoeur’s ‘dialogical approach’ not result in a harmonization of often diverging positions? Is Ricoeur able to hear the radicalness of certain insights? Is it possible that his hermeneutical philosophy takes away the sharpness of certain problems in current religious, political and philosophical debates? Might it even be the case that he did not hear certain voices, precisely because they resist synthesis? This conference inquires what happens to Ricoeur’s hermeneutical approach if we confront it with its limits.
The conference will address topical philosophical, socio-political and religious issues, from a Ricoeurian perspective, but in conversation with other, more ‘radical’ thinkers
Possible topics include:
Justice and the Struggle for Recognition: Justice is an important concept in Ricoeur’s work, first of all, as an ethical concept. For Ricoeur, justice is a way of establishing peace, both in concrete relations to others, as on the level of institutions. In The Course of Recognition, Ricoeur however shifts the focus on political philosophy, and, in so doing he creates a tension in his understanding of justice. On the one hand, he agrees with Hegel and Honneth that justice is a justification for violence that is part of “the struggle for recognition”. On the other hand, Ricoeur also points again to the role of justice for peace. As he argues with Marcel Hénaff, in the exchange of gifts for instance, the parties involved proof their recognition to one another, and, in this sense, they maintain a peaceful relationship. This session aims at investigating the tension between justice and recognition in Ricoeur’s work, and especially in The Course of Recognition
see also: http://www.eurosa.org/esa2014/
Springtime in Beijing was, this year, too short. Short and very busy. Some of our good friends visited here, including Ken-ichi Sasaki, Curtis, Carter and Ales Erjavec, and I was very happy to meet them. I will enjoy seeing all of you in between the regular meetings of our Congresses.
Recently, I have attended several conferences in China and elsewhere. In early April, I went to Hangzhou for a symposium on the theoretic significance of Chinese ink-wash painting hosted by Pan Gongkai. We had a very good discussion there on the famous West Lake garden, a place traditionally called "Paradise on Earth" in China. Our friends, Curtis Carter, Richard Shusterman and Peng Feng, gave excellent presentations there. We also met other scholars including François Jullien and Cheng Chung-ying. Two topics discussed were especially interesting and deserve mention here: first, the physical brushwork as the traces of human action to signify the feeling and emotion, or states of mind of the painters, and second, the brushwork as the evidence of the painter's character as a morally exemplary human being. These two concepts represent two interrelated ways of thinking about and interpreting Chinese ink-wash painting.
A little later in April, I went to Chengdu (The city where many of us met in 2006. I hope you still remember this city where the Executive Committee meeting of IAA voted to approve Beijing as the venue for the 2010 IAA Congress). At this 2014 Chengdu conference, two key concepts attracted the attention of the participants. First, contemporary literary theory and secondly, its trans-cultural travel. "Contemporary" and "contemporarity" are important concepts because people are considering the possibilities to go beyond the post-modern and post-modernism. The introduction of so many different theories into China has contributed to confusion among Chinese scholars. They now wish to return to their own ways of living and artistic practices. Their aim is to find possibilities for focusing on their own practices while continuing to introduce the theories from abroad. Secondly, the matter of the trans-cultural travel of theories is important. During the 20th century, many theories have become influential internationally. Most of them originated from Europe and became internationally influential by way of their reception and development in the USA. Now, as theories travel to China, it is hoped that their reception and development here can become theoretically significant and fruitful in the future as well.
The city, too, is landscape. We can leave it by going into nature exchanging the urban for the rural, but we can also enter the city to live within the architecture and contemplate its forms. Every architectural structure is a landscape and promotes an educational or paedeumatic relationship between the spirit and the environment. Our gaze and our bodies activate a certain way of contemplating that promotes the interchange between the external perception of the physical world and an internal seeing, which is the psychic perception of the visual image. There is a close relationship between the aesthetic experience of the natural environment and that of the urban landscape. In the same way that humankind lives on the earth so, too, it lives in the city.
Jale Nejdet Erzen (Izmir University), painter and art historian, publications on Ottoman architecture, painting and aesthetics. Vice president of IAA. Founder and long-time president of Turkish Association of Aesthetics, SAN ART. Affiliations, Middle East Technical University-Ankara and izmir University Izmir Turkey. Recent publications on urban aesthetics, contemporary art.
Raffaele Milani is Professor of Aesthetics and the author of numerous books, including The Aesthetic Categories, The Adventure of Landscape and The Faces of Grace. Philosophy, Art, and Nature. Director of the Laboratory of Research on the Cities (Institute for Advanced Studies), University of Bologna. Member of the European Commission at the French Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development on: De la connaissance des paysages à l’action paysagère.
The Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology aims to encourage and promote research in aesthetics that draws inspiration from the phenomenological tradition as broadly understood, where “phenomenology” is inclusive of, but goes beyond the limits of, intellectual practices associated with the tradition and its well-known representative thinkers. Unique in the English speaking world, the journal welcomes scholarly articles written in a phenomenological vein as well as analyses of aesthetic phenomena by researchers working on phenomenology within analytic philosophy.
The field of the Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology is further defined by its close connections with the arts and culture, including the reality of human experience and its environment. Besides philosophical rigor, the journal puts emphasis on both creativity of ideas and precision of language. It provides a platform for new innovative ideas crossing the boundaries of both philosophical traditions and traditionally accepted fields of research in aesthetics.
Gimme Shelter. Global discourses in aesthetics contains a series of reflections on the impact of globalization on the arts and the aesthetic reflection on the arts. The authors – fifteen distinguished aestheticians from all over the world - discuss a variety of aesthetic questions brought forth by the aforementioned process of globalization. How do artistic practices and aesthetic experiences change in response to these developments? How should we articulate these changes on the theoretical level? When reflections on the significance of art and aesthetic experiences can no longer pretend to be universal, is it still possible to lay claim to a wider validity than merely that of one’s own particular culture? What type of vocabulary allows for mutual – dialogical or even polylogical – exchanges and understandings when different traditions meet, without obliterating local differences? Is there a possibility for a creative re-description of globalization? And is there a meaning of ‘the global’ that cannot be reduced to universalism and unification? Can we seek shelter in a legitimate way?
Jos de Mul is professor of Man and Culture at Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has also taught at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Fudan Univer- sity (Shanghai), and has been visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. From 2007 until 2010 he was the President of the International Associa- tion of Aesthetics. His work is on the interface of philosophical anthropology (and its history), aesthetics, and philosophy of technology. English publications include: Romantic Desire in (Post)Modern Art and Philosophy (State University of New York Press, 1999), The Tragedy of Finitude. Dilthey’s Hermeneutics of Life (Yale Univer- sity Press, 2004), Cyberspace Odyssey. Towards a Virtual Ontology and Anthropology (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), and Destiny Domesticated. The Rebirth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Technology (State University of New York Press, 2013). His work has been translated in more than a dozen languages. An extended CV and publication list is available at www.demul.nl.
Renée van de Vall is professor in Art and Media at Maastricht University where she is chair of the Department of Arts & Literature. She has been president of the Dutch Association for Aesthetics (2002-2006) and is currently Dutch delegate in the Executive Committee of the IAA. Her research interests are philosophical aesthetics and the phenomenology of contemporary visual art and spectatorship. She currently leads an interdisciplinary research project on the theory and ethics of the conservation of contemporary art. Some recent publications are At the Edges of Vision. A Phenomenological Aesthetics of Contemporary Spectatorship (2008); ‘A Penny For Your Thoughts. Brain-scans and the Mediation of Subjective Embodi- ment’ in R. van de Vall & R. Zwijnenberg (eds.) The Body Within: Art, Medicine and Visualisation (2009); and ‘Towards a Theory and Ethics for the Conservation of Contemporary Art’ in Art d’aujourd’hui – patrimoine de demain. Conservation et restauration des oeuvres contemporaines. (2009).