Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life
Editor: Barbara Bolt, Felicity Colman, Graham Jones, Ashley Woodward
Date Of Publication: Nov 2007
This book presents a timely reconfiguration of the relations between art, philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics. Through connection with a range of contemporary social and philosophical issues and movements, this collection of essays highlights the imperative of sensorial aesthetics. The book focuses on the radical philosophical approach to aesthetics enabled by the works of Jean-François Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze. From these philosophers an older meaning of aesthetic has been recalled. Before it indicated primarily the theory of art and beauty, “aesthetic” referred to the sensibility, the capacity to receive sensations. In summoning this “sensorial” meaning of aesthetics in their respective works, Lyotard, Deleuze, and other recent thinkers turn the philosophical theory of aesthetics away from the dominance of cognitivist and reception theories, and towards a thinking of aesthetics through considerations of the movements of matter, affect, and sensation.
This vital transformation of aesthetics in turn allows a reconfiguration of the relationship between the domains of art, aesthetics, and philosophy. If aesthetics focuses on sensation, rather than cognition, then artists, musicians, and philosophers alike appear not only as phenomenological and empirical thinkers, but as experimenters with the parameters of the sensible, able to extend our perceptual interface with the world. Rather than artists deferring to philosophers in regard to the meaning of their works, this new understanding of aesthetics suggests that philosophers ought to defer to artists, who are understood as inventers in the realm of sensibility.
Barbara Bolt is Senior Lecturer in Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne, and a practicing visual artist. She is the author of Art Beyond Representation (2004) and co-editor (with Estelle Barrett) of Practice as Research: Creative Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry (2007)
Felicity Colman is Lecturer in Screen Studies in the School of Culture & Communication at The University of Melbourne. She is the co-editor (with Charles Stivale) of a special issue of Angelaki (11:2006) on Creativity and Philosophy.
Graham Jones is Lecturer in Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne.
Ashley Woodward is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania and a member of the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy.
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