Beyond Modern Æsthetics: From the Migrations of the Aura to Its Costs of Reproduction

By Riccardo Baldissone.

Published by The Arts Collection

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In this paper I will consider modern aesthetics as the conceptual construction of artistic activities around the two poles of the art producer and the artistic product according to the modern categories of subject and object. Whilst in the early modern period artists were requested to disappear behind the results of their mastery, they progressively regained pre-eminence over their products. However, from baroque architectural installations to ephemeral and even de-materialized contemporary artistic interventions modern æsthetics has continued to focus either on art products or on the ability of subjects, both as artists and as observers, to turn things into æsthetically appreciable objects. I contend that neither the re-arrangement of artistic objects, as resulting from postmodern pastiches or the use of new media, nor the re-location of the artistic aura in the producing subjects transcend such modern perspective. On the contrary, I suggest approaching artistic activities as communicative processes, in which the artists and their activities would be nodes in a heterogeneous network including also critics, the public and all social actors involved in art fruition. Such approach would allow dealing with the determination of artistic value without recurring to a metalanguage. Moreover, it could rescue reproduced objects from the realm of the inauthentic and thus help reintroducing art into everyday life.

Keywords: Modern Æsthetics, Baroque, Aura, Benjamin, Latour, Reproduction

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.161-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.192MB).

Dr. Riccardo Baldissone

Researcher, Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Riccardo Baldissone was born in Rome, Italy, in 1959. His formal education covers Classical Studies, Science, Philosophy and Education. He taught and conducted pedagogical laboratories in Italy for a decade, before researching and travelling all around the world. At present, Riccardo is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. His last completed project was an attempt to rethink both human rights discourse and the modern conceptual framework in which it is embedded. Riccardo is now addressing Western thought’s denial of multiplicity.

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