Wednesday 3rd April 2019, 5pm – 7pm
Exhibitions and Museums: When are They Art?
Marcel Broodthaer’s Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles (1968) confronted the public with an exhibition that criticized traditional museum practices by means of appropriating them. This work was explicitly intended to qualify as both an exhibition and a work of conceptual art. In this talk, I explore the hypothesis that the artwork status of some exhibitions might instead have remained, so far, unnoticed, even by their makers. To illustrate my view, I analyze the exhibition of pre-and proto-historic artifacts at Berlin’s Neues Museum and argue that such exhibition is a work of site-specific installation art.
Professor Sonia Sedivy (Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto)
Aesthetic Properties, History and Perception
Monday 12th November 2018, at 5pm in Darwin Lecture Theatre 2, University of Kent
If artworks and their aesthetic properties stand in constitutive relationships to historical context and circumstances, so that some understanding of relevant facts is involved in responding to a work, what becomes of the intuitive view that we see artworks and at least some of their aesthetic properties? This question is raised by arguments in both aesthetics and art history for the historical nature of works of art. The paper argues that the answer needs to take philosophy of perception into account. The principal development that has shaped philosophy of perception in the last thirty years—explaining perceptual experience in terms of contents that represent that such-and-such is the case—is directly relevant to key arguments for the historical nature of art because contents can represent complex kinds and properties. Conceptual realism is especially well-suited for explaining perception of artworks and aesthetic properties because it emphasizes that forms of understanding— in the sense of capacities, abilities and techniques—are involved in perceptual engagement with individual objects and instances of properties. To make this case, the paper examines influential arguments for the historical nature of art and aesthetic properties by Arthur C. Danto and Kendall L. Walton; and examines art-historical discussions by Michael Baxandall, Linda Nochlin and T. J. Clark. The paper argues that the aesthetic properties of an artwork depend on human intentional uses of properties, colours and contours among them, and such uses may themselves be aesthetic. The Wittgensteinian notion of use is contextual and historical, and uses are perceptible.
The Norms of Realism and the Case of Non-Traditional Casting
Dr Catharine Abell (University of Manchester)
Wednesday 3rd October 2018, at 5pm in Grimond Lecture Theatre 3, University of Kent
Realism is a property that representational artworks can exhibit. This paper is concerned with realism in perceptual narratives: narrative representations that convey their contents at least partly perceptually. It addresses the conditions under which realism constitutes an artistic merit in a perceptual narrative by identifying the artistic norms of realism that govern them. By providing accounts of these norms, it enables the identification of errors in our evaluations of realism. To demonstrate the evaluative errors to which we are prone, it focuses on the practice of non-traditional casting, cases of which are often claimed to violate norms of realism. It identifies a variety of errors in judgements of instances of non-traditional casting’s conformity to the norms of realism. It explains the source of these errors, some of which are relatively systematic and widespread. It then provides a general specification of the resources and skills required correctly to evaluate perceptual narratives according to their realism.
Tuesday 13th February 2018, at 6pm in Keynes Seminar Room 11, University of Kent
According to the causal theory of photography (CTP), photographs acquire their depictive content from the world, whereas paintings and drawings acquire their depictive content from their maker. CTP is widely affirmed, by philosophers, film-theorists and early pioneers of the photographic medium. A persistent worry about CTP is that it leaves no interesting role for the photographer in the production of their pictures and, as a corollary, is incompatible with an aesthetics of photography. In this talk, I do three things. First, I amend CTP with Fred Dretske’s distinction between triggering and structuring causes. Second, I argue that CTP so amended is far from incompatible with an aesthetics of photography, but illuminates two aesthetic interests we may take in such pictures, focussing on photographic portraiture and street photography. Third, I show how reflection on the aesthetics of photography serves to support aesthetic anti-empiricism: the view that the aesthetic value of artworks consists, either wholly or partially, in achievement rather than sensory pleasure.
Dan Cavedon-Taylor is currently a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on philosophy of mind and aesthetics. Some of his most recent publications include: ‘Reasoned and Unreasoned Judgment’ (British Journal of Aesthetics 2017) and ‘Photographic Phenomenology as Cognitive Phenomenology’ (British Journal of Aesthetics 2015).
The Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) invite you to a Research Seminar with:
Dr Maks del Mar, School of Law, Queen Mary University of London
The Role and Value of the Imagination in Legal Thought
Wednesday 18th October, 5pm – 7pm, GLT3, University of Kent
This talk will offer an overview of four key abilities that demonstrate the role and value of the imagination in legal thought. The four abilities are: 1) supposing; 2) relating; 3) image-making; and 4) perspective-taking. The talk will first examine these abilities in general, and then apply them to four devices of legal thought. The four devices are: 1) fictions; 2) metaphors; 3) hypothetical narratives; and 4) perspectival tests. For a sneak preview with some examples, see: https://aeon.co/essays/why-judges-and-lawyers-need-imagination-as-much-as-rationality.
Maks Del Mar is Reader in Legal Theory at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London, where he is also founding co-director of the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context. He is presently working on a monograph on Imagination and the Legal Mind (Hart / Bloomsbury) and co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities. One of his primary research interests is the aesthetics of legal thought.
watch recording of this talk (talk begins at 7:00)
do not cite without permission of the author
Keynote by Professor Elisabeth Schellekens at Interact – British Society for Aesthetics Postgraduate Conference, 7-8 February 2015
Aesthetic Experts, Guides to Value
Keynote by Dominic McIver Lopes at Interact (British Society for Aesthetics) at the INTERACT Postgraduate Conference, 7-8 February 2015
Chair: Shelby Moser