AESTHETICS AND ITS DISCONTENTS
‘Aesthetics has a bad reputation.’ wrote Jacques Rancière in 2004 — ‘Hardly a year goes by without a new book either proclaiming that its time is over or that its harmful effects are being perpetuated.’ After more than ten years we can see that the situation has not changed: both old and new philosophical concepts try to limit aesthetics’s rights for interpretation, proclaiming it an obsolete or irrelevant discipline. Simultaneously, writers praising aesthetics as “prime philosophy” and endowing this field of knowledge with metaphysical status go to another extreme. However, notwithstanding these categorical assertions, today one can speak of multitude of aesthetics that take various forms: inaesthetics, aesthetic regime, neuroaesthetics, mathematical beauty, new aesthetics, speculative aesthetics, decolonial aesthesis, environmental aesthetics.
While in the second half of the 20th century aesthetics was discredited, on the one hand, by critical theory and cultural studies and by the very artistic practices, on the other, in the last fifteen years one could witness a new wave of readings and interpretations of this discipline both within and beyond contemporary art. The lecture series at Winzavod would consider aesthetics in an “expanded field”, going beyond the boundaries of narrow philosophical or art-related problems and giving voice to other fields of knowledge. Thus, except from continental aesthetic tradition (Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Adorno) the project would focus on analytical philosophy, soviet marxist tradition, theory of new media, as well as recent speculative tendencies; it would also invite neurologists, mathematicians, and ecologists.