Research / Projects

Making Sense of Aisthesis; the Return of Sensibility

"Making Sense of Aisthesis: The Return of Sensibility" contributes to to a vivid international debate concerning a contemporary ”aesthetic turn”. Our lifeworld has been aestheticized to an extraordinary degree, whilst at the same time our way of looking at the world has been affected by medias and technologies enhancing the experience of a new kind of sensibility. How are we to understand the aesthetic turn? The academic study of aesthetics is concerned with perception, i.e. the capacity of the human body to approach the world. ”Aesthetics” is referring to the Greek concept of aisthesis, referring to perception and sensibility. How do the sense mediate between man and world, body and consciousness, ideas and objects? How are we to explain the relation between the experience of sensibility and modern technologies of perception? What happens with the sense in modernity? Do they have a social and political history? In what way can we interpret the history of aesthetics through contemporary art? In what way do questions of sexuality and gender relate to theories of aesthetics? The research project "Making Sense of Aisthesis: The Return of Sensibility" intends to examine the relation between the history of the aesthetics as an academic discipline, and greater cultural and social shifts involving an impact of the senses. The project involves different parts, comprising isolating moments in a development spanning over three hundred years. To begin with, the establishment of the study of aesthetics during the 18th century is being examined, then the development of realism in the 19th century, and the asthetization of literature and art, continuing to the performance-art of the 60s and the development of a new aesthetic space, involving corporeality. Finally we intend to analyze the aesthetization of ordinary life in contemporary society, and its reliance on visual communication above all. The project aims to take particular interest in cultural shifts that carry a high social and political significance, thereby establishing its historical method. Aesthetic expression becomes a symptom of farreaching social and cultural change. An academic study of aesthetics that is interested in the history of sensibility, establishing a broad concept of aesthetics as aesthesis, will open for a new form of theoretical reflection in the humanities, calling for a pluralistic and interdisciplinary approach. On this point the project ties into a growing interest in the theoretical and historical study of the experience of sensibility. The academic discipline of aesthetics has a particular place in the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. The German tradition stretching from Baumgarten, Winckelmann and Kant up to Welsch has examined the concept of aesthetics in a systematic manner. There is, however, another reason fo tying the project to the geographical region of the Baltic Sea: in several countries in this area there is a vivid interest in the continued study of the aesthetics tradition. The specific place of the study of aesthetics in the region of the academy Baltic Sea can be further developed.

Publications

In: The Returns of Antigone. Albany : SUNY Press, 2014. 281-297.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Cecilia Sjöholm

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

Yes
2014

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education

Aesthetics


Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

In: Placing art in the public realm. Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2012. 125-136.

To Hannah Arendt, the public sphere has ontological implications; appearances are produced under conditions of plurality. For that reason, her philosophical work has implications for our reflections on the function of art in public space. What appears and why? What is refrained from appearing? How does intimate space interact with public space? The article looks at these questions and discusses the close relation between political agebcy and art.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Cecilia Sjöholm

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2012

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education

Aesthetics


Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

Stockholm : Thales, 2012.

AuthorPublishing yearSubject
Cecilia Sjöholm

Sara Danius

Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Research linked to the Baltic region and Eastern Europe

No
2012

School/Centre

School of Culture and Education

Aesthetics

Philosophy


Research area for doctoral studies

Critical and Cultural Theory

Status

Finished

Project Manager

Cecilia Sjöholm
Professor
School of Culture and Education

People linked to the project

Sven-Olov Wallenstein
Professor
School of Culture and Education


Katarina Elam

More information

Project start: 2009
Project end: 2013

Financier: Östersjöstiftelsen

Research linked to the Baltic Sea region and Eastern Europe: Yes

Information på svenska

Subjects to which the project is linked

School/centre to which the project is linked

Research area for doctoral studies to which the project is linked