Everydayness. Contemporary Aesthetic Approaches

A cura di:  Adrián Kvokačka, Lisa Giombini
Editore: RomaTrE-Press
Data di pubblicazione: novembre 2021
Pagine: 291
ISBN: 979-12-5977-053-0
n° downloads ad oggi: 483


Il concetto di quotidianità assume oggi rilevanza crescente nel dibattito scientifico, sia nel contesto dell’estetica filosofica che dell’estetica cosiddetta applicata. Questo volume mira a far luce su alcune delle questioni chiave che emergono nelle discussioni relative all’estetica e alla filosofia della vita quotidiana, esaminando il retroterra metodologico di questo settore di ricerca e le sue intersezioni con ambiti affini, e fornendo al contempo esempi della sua possibile applicazione a specifici casi-studio. La raccolta include venti saggi di autori internazionali organizzati intorno a quattro aree tematiche nel campo dell’estetica del quotidiano: (1) Ambiente, (2) il corpo, (3) arte e pratiche culturali, e (4) metodologia. Tra le tematiche in oggetto vi è la somaestetica, la nozione di partecipazione estetica, le arti performative, l’estetica della moda e degli ornamenti, l’architettura, l’estetica dell’ambiente e della città.

The notion of everydayness is currently gaining momentum in scientific discourses, in both philosophical and applied aesthetics. This volume aims to shed light on some of the key issues that are involved in discussions about the aesthetics and the philosophy of everyday life, taking into account the field’s methodological background and intersections with cognate research areas, and providing examples of its contemporary application to specific case studies. The collection brings together twenty essays organised around four main thematic areas in the field of everyday aesthetics: (1) Environment, (2) The Body, (3) Art and Cultural Practices, and (4) Methodology. The covered topics include, but are not limited to, somaesthetics, aesthetic engagement, the performing arts, aesthetics of fashion and adornments, architecture, environmental and urban aesthetics.


Introduction. Aesthetics and the Everyday. Une Liaison Dangereuse

Adrián Kvokačka  Lisa Giombini 

What is the philosophy of everydayness and why is it important (if ever)? And what is the role of aesthetics in our dealings with everyday life? This introduction examines some crucial issues that emerge when considering the notion of everydayness from a philosophical perspective. It offers a trajectory of the main approaches to the notion of everyday life that are relevant to understanding its contemporary developments. While interest in the everyday aspects of reality has been a neglected feature in the history of Western thought, everydayness has re-emerged recently as a central theme in aesthetics. The introduction also surveys the papers included in the collection and provides insight into their organization.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/1

Another Look at the City: Emphasizing Temporality in Urban Aesthetics

Sanna Lehtinen 

Cities are usually formed over long periods of time. The subjective experience of time on the scale of a human individual comes together with the longer lifespan of human made constructions in contemporary cities. Intergenerational aesthetic values are negotiated together with short-term trends and both have an influence on how cities become perceived, experienced, and used. Changes in the material conditions define the aesthetic qualities of urban environments. Building, demolition, and acts of care and maintenance are needed to keep the material system of the city functioning. The forms of urban structures draw direct aesthetic attention as they are being designed and redesigned in these processes. Buildings and architecture as such have for long carried meanings beyond the mere function of giving shelter. Building materials, for example, prove to be a central source of new meanings as they are currently being re-evaluated from the perspective of ecological and sustainability values. This article outlines how philosophical urban aesthetics can take into account the explicit aspects of aesthetic value change in cities. The article shows how the idea of aesthetic sustainability could be introduced into urban aesthetics in a way that will increase our understanding of how aesthetics and sustainability are and could further be interlinked in contemporary and future urban environments.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/2

Aesthetics and Environmental Dereliction The Ambiguous Sublimity of Destroyed Environments

Zoltan Somhegyi 

Destroyed natural environments and derelict urban and industrial sites may all evoke an ambiguously disturbing sublimity. Landscapes that are devastated through heavy industrial activity or seriously altered due to climate change as well as decaying urban and industrial sites can all lead to challenging our notion of aesthetic experience. Both these types of decay, i.e. the ones concerning the natural environment and urban and industrial areas, are shown in artworks such as photographs, paintings, and (multimedia) installations. This is of course in line with the historical origins of the subject-matter. However, while explorers enjoy physically visiting areas of urban and industrial decay, only very few of them would go to a large-scale devastated area such as an oil field, an open-cast mine or a poisonously flooded area to experience it physically (Kover 2014). How can we account for these different attitudes?

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/3

The Aesthetic Value of Vernacular Gardens in Ukrainian Cities. A Case Study from Rusanivka Residential District, Kyiv

Yevheniia Butsykina 

This paper addresses the aesthetic value of vernacular gardens in a Ukrainian urban environment. By introducing the case of a makeshift garden on the Rusanivka Channel in Kyiv, Ukraine, I discuss how private spatial practices can match a dynamic and alienated urban landscape. To examine the problem of the aesthetic evaluation of the garden, I shall resort to ideas coming from the framework of the philosophy and aesthetics of everyday life and the aesthetics of engagement. The concepts of aesthetic experience, private practices in the urban space, native and foreign places, landscapes, and the garden as an object of aesthetic perception form the basis for my investigation in the aesthetic import of vernacular gardens.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/4

On the Interaction of Here and There: Places in the City

Filip Šenk 

The paper focuses on place and place experience in a city. It examines the nature of place experience, especially the experience of place edges. Looking at the writings of urban planner and urban theorist Kevin A. Lynch, architecture historian and theoretician Christian Norberg-Schulz and philosopher Edward S. Casey, the paper seeks relevant terms to account for the edge experience. Especially in the works of Casey one can find a series of key observations and terms for constitutive relationships of places and their edges. These findings are confronted in the paper with the specific place experience of the park on Štefánik Square, in the city of Liberec, Czech Republic, with its Monument to the Fighters and the Victims for Freedom of the Country by the Stolín brothers (2000). To deal with ambivalences of the place experience named in the paper, I introduce the term ‘fold’ as a way to capture and understand how interconnected these ambivalences are.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/5

The Archetypal Aesthetics of Dwellings

Petra Baďová 

Images of houses resonate strongly in our culture as they are part of our national and social identity. What do the types of dwellings that surround us every day testify about? What meanings are embodied in the architectural shapes and surfaces? What echoes resonate through the building materials and the immediate surroundings of a house? The aim of this paper is to decode the speech of dwellings and determine the features of their archetypal aesthetics. This interpretative probe focuses on the basic types of houses in Slovakia, foreshadowing their shape and archetypal character.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/6

Dress and the Body: an Essential Reciprocal Relationship in Everyday Aesthetics

Ian W. King 

Clothing or Dress is not something that we simply wear to keep warm or to protect our modesty. It possesses much deeper and more significant potential. Not least, it is the means by which we provide a personal and expressive form of non-verbal communication to audiences (and sometimes ourselves) about who we are. In this way, dress often characterizes the guise of subsequent communication - both verbally and non-verbally – not only between the wearer and the audience, but also internally to the wearer themselves. Amongst other things, this raises questions regarding the status and relationship of dress with the body, and as such, in the chapter, noting recent claims regarding the status (and privileging) of objects in new materialist writings, and turning to Merleau-Ponty's underdeveloped notion of chiasm; I argue that this is in fact a relationship of essential reciprocity and certainly not one about privileging one over the other.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/7

Dressing as an Ordinary Aesthetic Practice

Elena Abate 

The purpose of this paper is to briefly present a new perspective on fashion as an ordinary aesthetics, based on Wittgenstein’s later aesthetic conception. In order to analyse the ordinary dimension of fashion, I will start from Giovanni Matteucci’s account of fashion as an aesthetic phenomenon as presented in his Philosophical Perspectives on Fashion (2017). There, Matteucci introduces the idea of juxtaposing the Wittgensteinian concept of “form of life” to fashion. Accordingly, my aim in this paper is to show the resemblances between the Wittgensteinian concept of “form of life” and the ordinary practice of dressing, and to characterize thereby the aesthetic connotations of the practice of fashion. I will claim that the act of dressing everyday structurally employs a kind of language which can be defined as aesthetic − according to Wittgenstein’s aesthetic account as presented during his Lectures in Cambridge in 1933 and 1938. Conclusively, I argue that in fashion (intended as everyday dressing) there is an interrelation between the grammar of language and socially encoded aesthetic responses: fashion sets new rules that define the meaning of dresses; these rules, in turn, are not eternal since they follow fashion’s cyclical seasonality and personal good taste. Thus, anyone who daily commits to the practices of clothing can acquire sensitivity to the rules and train within the same “grammar of dressing.”

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/8

Fashion as a Cultural Intertext

Michaela Malíčková 

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/9

The Aesthetics of Suffering or Being Enchanted by Van Gogh’s Ear

Andrej Démuth  Slávka Démuthova 

The paper focuses on an analysis of the aesthetic appeal of suffering in the visual arts and literature with special regard to the problem of self-harm and its visual representation. The text is based on the assumption that suffering is part of our everyday life. However, the way it is expressed may lead to something that is not everyday – it is addressed to others – to try to change their perceptions and actions. On the contrary, self-torture or self-sacrifice is, in principle, considered to be uncommon, and their temporal domain is rather non-everydayness. This non-everydayness has attracted some attention from the days of Attis, through Christ, to the ear of van Gogh. Although self-harm and self-torture may and often have in principle a hidden and intimate character, they are nevertheless addressed to a certain audience that is supposed to see them and whom they affect. The paper considers selected reasons for the aesthetic appeal of (self-) suffering and focuses on the visual rhetoric of bodily self-harm as a means to make the inner world of the individual visible. It analyses some forms of self-harm, along with their aesthetic presentation in everyday life, as well as in an artistic environment. The authors thus aim to clarify the attractiveness of the suffering that is displayed as well as the various forms of the aesthetics of suffering and self-harm, which has both historical and modern forms.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/10

The Soma and the City: A Critical Approach

Lukáš Makky 

This paper deals with urban aesthetics as one of the main research fields in contemporary aesthetics, placing particular emphasis on the recipient’s aesthetic experience of the city. The overall aim is to discuss the kind of aesthetic interactions we have when immersed in a city. Somaesthetic experience (Shusterman 1999) represents the core notion in this survey and establishes the discussion about the role of body sensations in the process of experiencing the city. The attempt is to underline the virtues and limits of a somaesthetic approach when applied to the case of the city. One of the main outcomes is the claim that the body, as an instrument for experiencing the city, is insufficient. Cognition, knowledge, context, and information are necessary for a more intense and richer experience of the city.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/11

Food: An Ordinary Practice or an Extraordinary Experience?

Elisabetta Di Stefano 

Food and the practice of cooking hold a privileged place in contemporary aesthetics, as attested by the extensive literature that has been devoted to this topic. Food has been addressed in both Anglo-American and European studies from multiple points of view, including a cognitivist, pragmatist, phenomenological, everyday and somaesthetic perspective. In this essay I will try to identify a path that allows us to hold together these readings through the ordinary-extraordinary dichotomy. First, I shall analyze food through the lens of the extraordinary, taking into consideration some examples in which food is presented as a true work of art in museums or as an exceptional experience in increasingly aestheticized daily life. Then, using the key of the ordinary, I will consider food preparation and consumption as routine practices. Finally, I will make an attempt to reconcile the two categories by identifying the moments in which the extraordinary manifests itself in everyday life.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/12

Ritualization of Shopping and Artistic Interventions into the Temples of Consumption

Polona Tratnik 

The globalized world is still in the phase of late capitalism, signified by the establishment of multinational corporations, globalized markets and work, mass consumerism, and the fluid flow of capital. The question of the criticism of art towards the capitalist system, its ideology and consumerism is therefore still topical and is readdressed in this paper. To comprehend the logic of late capitalism, one needs to consider the means of consumption. In order to open space to examine contemporary art as being critical towards consumerism, one also needs to take into consideration the ontological changes that have occurred to art and pay attention to performative art. The author argues that if one is to seek critical or political art in late capitalism, one has to look for artistic interventions into the means of consumption.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/13

The Everyday at the Limits of Representation: Georges Perec’s Things. A Story of the Sixties (1965)

David Ewing 

This essay argues that Georges Perec’s novel, Things. A Story of the Sixties (1965) is an aesthetic artefact that helps us to think and experience everyday life. In dramatizing the effects of consumerist dreams and information overload on its protagonists’ lives, the text suggests that everyday experience is opposed to mimesis. However, Perec’s blanket use of the imperfect tense, together with the work of mirroring effects, prevents us from channelling the everyday into the negative space of representation. Rather, the novel speaks to Maurice Blanchot’s suggestion that the everyday is defined by an intransitive escapism. The fabular design of the narrative gives the reader an ethical impetus for tracing the course of this escape, only to find herself ensnared in the text’s economy of desires and representations. On shaky grounds for dismissing the false dreams of the characters, she is invited to reflect on the practical use of mimesis in making her own everyday experience.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/14

The Art of Living in a Double House. Everyday Aesthetics in the Space between (East and West)

Tordis Berstrand 

The relationship between art and the domestic setting is complicated. A perceived incompatibility between the critical gesture of autonomous art and the protective enclosure of home and house sets the two apart. For the modern architect, art cannot accommodate domestic life without the loss of potency or homely comfort. At the same time, artists in the twentieth century have continued to challenge the resilience of the dwelling house through radical spatial practices producing new spaces and concepts for living. The following looks at the work Merzbau (1927 – 1937) by the German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887 – 1948) as an example of a work of art transforming a seemingly ordinary house into an extraordinary architecture. It is argued that a certain kind of coexistence becomes possible when Schwitters’s Merz building radically challenges the dichotomy of the familiar/unknown embedded in the Western house. Furthermore, it is suggested that the aesthetics of ‘the uncanny’ sheds light on the forces at play when the artist thereby brings something of a foreign nature to the surface of the living space. The thinking of Theodor W. Adorno and Martin Heidegger informs the enquiry into modern Western concepts of dwelling while links to traditional Chinese aesthetics and the more recent ‘living aesthetics’ are developed with a view to a trans-cultural conceptualisation of the inclusive living space.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/15

Aesthetics from the Interstices: The Making of a Home in a Palestinian Refugee Camp

Corine van Emmerik 

This essay focuses on the making of a home as a ‘minor practice’. It focuses its attention on a family I met in a refugee camp in the West Bank and the ways in which they make space that acquires a certain permanence of home. How to make a home in a refugee camp suspended between different temporal and spatial worlds? Caught between the expulsion of Palestinians due to the 1948 Nakba or ‘catastrophe’, referring to the flight of Palestinian during the Arab-Israeli war, and the hope for the right of return, this essay aims to show how this refugee family, exiled in their own country, makes a home that, inspired by the Palestinian concept of Sumud, allows them to determine their own fate and joy despite the Occupation. I will take the reader on a tour through the house, in the same way as I was shown around in it, to demonstrate how the family generates their own space and home despite being haunted by trauma and memories of the Occupation, for example through the cultivation of a garden on their roof terrace. In this way, I will show how possibilities can be created from a liminal and marginal space such as the refugee camp and house in it through the ‘minor practice’ of home making, vectorising an everyday aesthetic-political quality that makes life felt.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/16

Morally Provocative Art: Contemporary Ethical-Aesthetic Discourse and its Limits

Carolina Gomes 

Recently, there have been many protests against controversial art around the world that got massive media attention and provoked discussions among the public, members of the art community, and scholars. This paper aims to make a review of recent ethical-aesthetic theories that explore morally provocative art. We can characterize contemporary ethical and aesthetic thought by its movement from extreme forms of moralism (Plato, Hume, Tolstoy) and autonomy (Wilde, Beardsley) to the search for more moderate options, in which both moral and aesthetic domains are considered valuable. By reviewing such concepts as ‘moderate moralism’, ‘ethicism’, ‘moderate autonomism’, ‘cognitive triviality’, and ‘cognitive immoralism’, I claim that these concepts mainly focus on artworks that rarely or never stir the outrage among the public in real life, even though these theories accurately reveal themes that are often perceived as controversial. I then propose to go beyond the analysis of the artistic field since contemporary conflicts around art have already become factors of change for the socio-cultural landscape and function as a platform where diverse social and political forces test their values.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/17

Aesthetic Acts. From Distance to Engagement

Ancuta Mortu 

This paper will focus on articulating the notion of aesthetic act by tracing its development over these past few years. My main claim is that putting weight on acting in the aesthetic context is important for understanding practices that were originally denied an aesthetic status in systematic philosophical discourse. In the first part of the paper, I argue the concept of aesthetic act becomes highly significant in the context of the ongoing development of everyday aesthetics and environmental aesthetics. In order to address the problem of what is particular to acting in the aesthetic realm, in part two I examine several conceptions of acts that permeate recent work in analytic aesthetics. In part three and four I provide a contrastive account of aesthetic acts in terms of distance and engagement. Paying attention to contrasts between the models of distance and engagement will allow me to situate the concept of aesthetic act within an already established tradition of research and point to the changes that it brings about in the current understanding of aesthetic appreciation

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/18

Transformations of Everydayness in the Pandemic Era

Michaela Paštéková 

Philosopher and aesthetician Arto Haapala (2005) claims that the routine gives us a feeling of homeyness and control. Brushing teeth, dressing or cleaning are tasks that we perform almost automatically every day and in their repetitiveness we find a balance against the unpredictability of reality outside our homes. But what if daily routine becomes a permanent condition? If the ruptures that disrupt it go away? The global pandemic has exposed us to a new model of existence. By accelerating the extraction of daily routine’s monotonous cycle, it disrupted its basic function - to keep our lives within the limits of (apparent) normalcy. One way to restore the status of support to everyday rituals is to place them in an aesthetic dimension. For example, by making the dusting a performative act. What happens to a routine when we “infect” it with the language of a dance performance? In my paper, I will address the question of how the pandemic changed the perception of everyday rituals and how the dance or performative movement can be one of the effective tools to bring the safety and familiarity back to the routine.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/19

Speculating Everyday Beauty

Swantje Martach 

Everyday aesthetics inter alia claims: Also outside of art, there is beauty. The existence of such extra-artistic beauty is taken as a given in this branch of aesthetic research; yet the issue it faces is of a methodological kind: How would it be possible to research ordinary beauties without turning them into extraordinary beauties and thus re-aligning them to art? The present paper proposes the method of speculation as a possible solution. Speculation is argued to be of aid for everyday aesthetics, because taking a speculative stance on reality means to not intervene in it, but to rather take a step back and respectfully narrate the withdrawing from our human perception that certain aspects of reality undertake. As such, speculation is a possibility to master the paradox faced by everyday aesthetics, which consists in engaging without intruding on beauties hiding within the everyday, and hence of preserving while and whilst researching them.

DOI: 10.13134/978-80-555-2778-9/20

Aesthetic Qualities and Aspects of Everyday Life: Notes on a Phenomenological Approach to Everyday Aesthetics

Małgorzata A. Szyszkowska 

This paper aims to discuss the aesthetic quality of everyday life considered from a phenomenological perspective. It is aimed at highlighting the way phenomenology is invested in every detail of the daily experiences and therefore also open to aesthetic qualities and values found in these experiences. The phenomenological perspective seems especially interested in the most detailed and full presentation of human experience complete with atmosphere and value judgments and thus also in portraying the emotional reactions towards the world-as-experienced. The paper also focuses on the category of listening-in understood as an attentive, open, and engaged relation to the world.

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