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Belo Horizonte, Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences [FAFICH] of UFMG, October 13-16, 2015
:: Professor Cíntia Vieira da Silva [UFOP]
:: Professor Débora Pazzeto Ferreira [CEFET/MG]
:: Professor Giorgia Cecchinato [UFMG]
:: Professor Rachel Costa [Escola Guignard/UEMG]
:: Professor Rodrigo Duarte [UFMG]
:: Professor Verlaine Freitas [UFMG – coordinator]
:: Professor Virginia Figueiredo [UFMG]
:: Graduate Program of Philosophy, Federal University of Minas Gerais [UFMG]
:: Graduate Program of Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Federal University of Ouro Preto [UFOP]
:: Brazilian Association of Aesthetics [ABRE]
The 12th International Congress of Aesthetics- Brazil will bring into discussion three significant concepts in the panorama of philosophical reflection about art (and nature): the tragedy, the sublime, and melancholy. All three indicate contradictory movements of overtaking and surpassing the negative link between subject and object, giving origin to a great new fortune of criticism in the tradition of philosophical writings about aesthetic phenomena, from the Greek period to present day.
It was Schelling that asked how Greek reason could bear the contradictions of Greek tragedy. It was inevitable that the philosopher’s curiosity investigate the strange pleasure that humans have with fear and passion, which are undeniably painful passions. The first systematic formula of this contradictory pleasure appeared in Aristotle’s Poetics, described as catharsis. Before this, Plato had condemned the tragedy to irresistible attraction that it produced in people. In the late18th and early 19th century, especially in Germany, the ‘modern’ interpretation of tragedy was intensified, particularly in the works of philosophers such as that of Schiller, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. Even today, the importance of this concept cannot be denied in our contemporary concept, as seen in Adorno, Benjamin, and Heidegger.
The controversies generated by the philosophical appropriation of a theatre ‘genre’ were not few. For some authors, as is the case of Jacques Taminiaux, it consists of a sort of ‘deviation’ in direction of the ontological, ignoring the dimension of action (praxis) that was in play in the Aristotelian concept of tragedy. For his part, Peter Szondi put forth a very original thesis: the tragedy provided the origin and the matrix of dialectic thinking. Finally, Phillipe Lacoue-Labarthe, in his interpretation of the theater of Hölderlin (whose contribution to the thinking of tragedy is, to a certain extent, unsurpassable), concluded that the sublime, this art or the theory of modern art, is perhaps nothing more than a re-creation of the tragedy.
Quite similar to that contradictory pleasure was one of the definitions that Schiller offered us of the sublime, as “serenity in the face of pain”, a feeling justified by him due to intensity of painful emotions. Therefore, it is the vivacity and intensity of representations that unleash suffering upon us, which is the very motive that gives us pleasure.
Just as with the tragedy, we can also say that the Sublime has a double origin: the first was in the third century of the Christian era, when the rhetorician Longinus wrote a treaty “On the sublime” (Peri Hupsous). In that period, it was directed towards the artist and the work, not at the general concept of beauty, for this reason Poetics and Rhetorics were written, and not Aesthetics. Longinus was exclusively concerned on training the orators of the most efficient manner to impact their ‘audience’. The second origin of the sublime was in the late 17th and early 18th century, in Classical France, when in 1674 the writer and art critic, Nicolas Boileau, known for his conservatism, alleged Boileau-Despréaux, published, along with his The Art of Poetry, a surprising translation of the treatise of Longinus. This, very likely, provoked the reappearance of the sublime in reflections of art, making it return to be, as Jean-Luc Nancy would say, ‘in fashion’.
The sublime left France as a product of Classical rationalism and arrived in Dublin already totally transformed by a sensualist and empiricist aesthetics. In 1757, the Irishmen Edmund Burke published his famous Philosophical Enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful. As could have been predicted, all of these adventures resulted in a strengthening of the question of the sublime, which, returning to the continent (European and ‘metaphysical’, but was ready to produce its ‘Critique’), only caused it to grow and solidify. For this reason, in 1790, when Kant published his Critique of the Power of Judgment, which with the reflections appears as systematized and divided into two contrasting analytical accounts: of Beauty and of the Sublime. If beauty is associated with ‘disinterested pleasure’, the sublime is characterized by a contradictory sentiment, marked equally by pleasure and displeasure. If beauty indicates a soothing feeling of harmony between man and nature, the sublime shows an enemy nature, an adversary to men that physically frights him. If beauty is a sentiment of the aesthetic pleasure, sensitive in the proper sense, the sublime is a sentiment, which, by its connection to morality, demands more of an Anti-aesthetics (as suggested by Deleuze) rather than an Aesthetics.
If just as tragedy and the sublime both express contradictory movements of the spirit, they have in common the fact of confronting us with an object or a nature that challenges us in our coherent positivity. We are called to a tense, living and conflicting dialogue with a reality alien to the habitual form of thinking and daily rituals. At the moment that the movement was radically internalized, impelled by a substantial and radical loss of an object, the sublime and the tragedy appear to converge in melancholy. With Greek origins, a combination of melas (black) and cholis (bliss), ‘melancholy’ does not designate only a long state of pathological depression, but a subjective state of our creative processes as well. It is referenced to in plastic arts, such as paintings by Albrecht Dürer and Goya, in literature, such as the works of Machado de Assis, and recently in film, an example being Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia”.
Sarah Kofmann explains in her book The Melancholy of Art that all beauty and artistic production is inexorably connected to a melancholic principle, defined by the absence of an object. In fact, if we follow the famous idea of Sigmund Freud that in melancholy the shadow of the object falls on the subject, in contemporary art the subject renounces ‘melancholically’ the mimetic/representative object as the principle that grants artistry or at least minimal condition of possibility to the artistic work. At the same time the inapprehensible loss of the object could push the subject into the background of paralyzing swirl, simultaneously, it can instigate an aesthetic elaboration that surpasses the subjective and obscure closing towards the elaboration of a new object, that is, the artwork, which transpose all the contradictory movement of the soul onto the stage of its imagetic/imaginary objectivity.
Considering the trajectory of these concepts, which even today are maintained in contemporary debates about aesthetic, the International Congress – The Tragic, the sublime, and melancholy, intends to approach some of their most pertinent aspects, being each one separately or in the context of their multiple interconnections. In this sense, the conference has amounted to a series of organized events, since 1993, through the Research Group of Aesthetic and Philosophy of Art, in the Graduate Program of Philosophy at UFMG (lately undertaken with the Master’s Program of Aesthetic and Philosophy of Art of UFOP and with the Association of Aesthetic of Brazil – ABRE): “Death of art, today” (1993), “Beauty, sublime, and Kant” (1995), “The lights of art” (1997), “Catharsis” (1999), “Mimesis and expression” (2001), “Aesthetic theory” (2003), “The aesthetic dimension” (2005), “Aesthetics of dislocation” (2007), “Dislocations in art” (2009); “Image, imagination, fantasy: Twenty years without Vilém Flusser” (2011) and “Taste, interpretation and critique” (2013). As the past three events of this series, the forthcoming will also be realized in conjunction with the Graduate Program of Aesthetic and Philosophy of Art of UFOP.
The conference will be composed of presentations by invited researchers in the mornings of all days. The afternoons will be reserved for the presentations and panel discussions which will be followed by debates not only focused on the main topic (being the tragedy, the sublime, and melancholy) in the strict sense, but also about the following related sub-topics:
:: The Greek tragedy
:: Theories of tragedy
:: The tragic and the sublime in Schiller
:: The sublime and contemporary art
:: The tragedy and modern and contemporary dramas
:: Melancoly in the arts
:: The uncanny in literature
:: Literature of the absurd
:: The sublime and sublimation
:: The culture industry
:: Art and psychoanalysis
:: Art and politics
:: Registration fee: U$80 for professors and U$40 for students
:: World limit of presentations: 2,500 words
:: Registration calendar:
– basic [without presentation]: September 1st- October 13th;
– presenters: send abstract submission: April 15th to June 15th;
– announcement of selected presentations: June 30th;
:: Virginia de Araujo Figueiredo [UFMG]
:: Suzanne Kogler [Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz]
:: Christian Bauer [Hochschule Würzburg-Schweinfurt]
:: Peter Pelbart [PUC-SP]
:: Jeanne Marie Gagnebin [UNICAMP/PUC-SP]
:: Roberto Machado [UFRJ]
IAA International Yearbook 2013 (Volume 17).
Jale Erzen & Raffaele Milani (eds.) Nature and the City. Beauty is Taking on a New Form.Sassari 2013.
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.
"Eyes and Gazes in Philosophy and Arts"
directed by Atsushi Okada (Kyoto University) and Giuseppe Patella (University of Rome Tor Vergata) March 2-3, 2015 University of Rome Tor Vergata Via Columbia 1
00133 Rome (Italy).
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
The University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture and the Society for Aesthetics of Architecture and Visual Arts Serbia (DEAVUS) are pleased to announce the Call for papers for the IAA Conference 2015.
The 2015 Interim meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Aesthetics (IAA) will take place June 26-28 2015 at the amphitheater of the University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade. The theme of the Conference is “Revisions of Modern Aesthetics”. We would like to invite all researchers and scholars interested in this topic to participate in the conference with a paper.
One of the important topics of contemporary global culture is the revision of modernism and its corresponding theories, aesthetics and philosophies. That is why we proposed for the Belgrade’s Conference the title “Revisions of Modern Aesthetics”.
Reviewing the history of modernity and especially aesthetic transformations in the 20th century are challenging issues for contemporary society and culture. We live in a world of permanent change; a world of desire to get out of the global crisis into the new world of unexpected modernity. Therefore, the project, research, emancipation and the new are the important questions. Through the paradigmatic models of modernity we will try to construct a theoretical, aesthetic and philosophical platforms for contemporaneity. The concept of the conference is developed in four sessions:
The first session deals with the revision, reconstruction and research of modernist theories of space and architecture. The aim is to show the viability of space and architecture in the changing world.
Session chair: Dr. Jale Erzen, professor, Middle East Technical University Faculty of Architecture, Ankara.
The second session deals with questions on the status of contemporary aesthetics that transformed the crisis of modern aesthetics into the expansion of aesthetic thinking, politicization of sensuality and discovering new aesthetic experiences and knowledges.
Session chair: Dr. Ales Erjavec, professor, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts - Institute of Philosophy at Scientific Research Center, Ljubljana.
The third session, relying on the idea of “historical distance”, indicates a comparison of medieval and modern in arts.
Session chair: Dr. Vladimir Mako, professor, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade.
The fourth session enters in the field of the fluidity, uncertainty and phenomenological transformation of the society of global spectacle and media totality.
Session chair: Dr. Misko Suvakovic, professor, University of Arts - Faculty of Music, Belgrade.
The Conference “Revisions of Modern Aesthetics” aims to initiate the discussion from the field of contemporary philosophical and applied aesthetics about who we are today compared to the past in relation to the future. Aesthetics has a right to these fundamental questions.
• Dr. Vladimir Mako, professor, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade
• Dr. Misko Suvakovic, professor, University of Arts - Faculty of Music, Belgrade
• Dr. Vladimir Stevanovic, assistant professor, Faculty of Media and Communications, Belgrade
• Dr. Aleksandar Ignjatovic, professor, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade
• Dr. Vladan Dokic, professor, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade
• Mr. Branko Pavic, professor, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade
• Dr. Ales Erjavec, professor, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts - Institute of Philosophy at Scientific Research Center, Ljubljana
• Dr. Jale Erzen, professor, Middle East Technical University - Faculty of Architecture, Ankara
• Dr. Raffaele Milani, professor, University of Bologna - Institute of research on the cities, Bologna
• Dr. Gao Jianping, professor, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences - Institute of Literature, Beijing
• Dr. Tyrus Miller, professor, University of California - Division of Humanities, Santa Cruz
• All submitted papers will be presented during the Conference. More information will follow after paper submission.
• All accepted abstracts will be published in the Conference Proceedings book.
• A selection of papers will be published in the Serbian Architectural Journal (www.saj.rs).
• Abstract submission due: March 31, 2015.
• Paper submission due: May 31, 2015.
• Registration fee for participants: May 31, 2015.
• Registration fee for visitors: June 13, 2015.
Conference: June 26-28, 2015.