[-empyre-] ah, aesthetics

Oron Catts oron.catts at uwa.edu.au
Fri Sep 13 03:35:57 EST 2013

Thanks Nell,
Interestingly enough- in 2002 we organised  a conference titled the Aesthetics of Care, there also was very little reference to the heavyweights of aesthetic philosophy. 
What we had instead was lots of discussion about the non-human on display and references to performance/live art as  point of departure for biological art practices.  Later, Neal White talked about  invasive aesthetics, an idea we liked very much as it yet again disrupt the ocular centric bias of the field.

The most intimate relationship one can have with an art work is by digesting, incorporating  it into one's body-  you can't really do it with a-life... and it is a very different aesthetic experience than just watching 

But as Samuel Butler wrote in  Erehwon, 1872 '...for an art is like a living organism - better dead than dying.'  No cascade there...


-----Original Message-----
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [mailto:empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Nell Tenhaaf
Sent: Wednesday, 11 September 2013 7:30 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] ah, aesthetics

----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- Hello everyone,

Oddly, aesthetics has become one of my favourite topics even though I come out of the 70s "postmodern" and otherwise busted-open art moment. when it was the last thing anyone wanted to invoke. My feeling is that we will get hamstrung in seeking an aesthetic for bioart (or a-life art, or any of the marvellous outlier practices of the past decades) if we drop back to, say Kant - as comforting as that might sound. This came up in the context of a TOCHI (computer-human interaction) special issue I was part of a few years ago, on "aesthetics of interaction", which had a lot of good thinking about Dewey's pragmatist aesthetics that keeps real world deployment in view, and in general focused on ways of designing experience or interfaces to engage multiple kinds of embodiments and types of events. One commentator lamented than in the whole issue, the heavyweights of aesthetic philosophy were nearly invisible. It was a bit of a shock - although if the concern is to legitimate some kin  d of practice or set of practices, then yes, not such a surprising comment. Can't we legitimate at this point if we need to, via practices that we feel have a kinship in their kind of renegade approach to asking questions? - this reminds me of Rob Mitchell's comments about performance art as a key precursor to bioart, linking it with human/non-human population interactions - and it also links up to often physical risk and lots of good subject/object permeability. 

all best,

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