Aesthetics, Art, and Politics at University of Helsinki

Finnish Society for Aesthetics
PO Box 4, FIN-0 0 0 1 4 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI
www.estetiikka.fi

“Aesthetics, Art, and Politics,” 6.5.-7.5.2010, University of Helsinki

The Finnish Society for Aesthetics together with the research project Artification and its Impact on Art (http://www.artification.fi/) will arrange a two-day seminar on the theme “Aesthetics, Art, and Politics” from the 6th of May to the 7th of May 2010 at the University of Helsinki. The keynote speaker of the seminar is Professor Aleš Erjavec (Slovenia).

Significant connections between aesthetics, art, and politics continue to exist in the new millennium. However, alongside traditional questions about art’s relationship to politics and the political aspects of aesthetic phenomena, a new set of issues has gradually arisen which are as much a
result of changes occurring in aesthetics and art as they are a result of changes that have recently shaped politics. The criticism that different traditions of contemporary aesthetics have aimed against the idea of “pure aesthetics,” i.e., an aesthetics severed from political considerations, has been widely accepted. But what is the position of aesthetic theories which emphasize the social function of art and aesthetics today? Do the main traditions of contemporary aesthetics any longer manage to account for the current forms that the relationship between aesthetics, art, and politics takes or are novel approaches required for analyzing those connections?

Many other social practices besides art are to a growing extent characterized by features which have traditionally been associated primarily with art. What sorts of aesthetic and political consequences could this process known as “artification” involve? What are the effects of this development, for
example, to the alleged autonomous nature of art or is this supposition a mere fallacy anyway? Different artistic traditions and movements embody different kinds of ideologies. How should one understand the relationship between art and politics in a world where faith in the impact of politics is
increasingly diminishing? Changes of approach in recent art research also provide a new outlook on the theme of the seminar. Do the different research approaches articulate specific views of the connection between aesthetics and politics and what sorts of political underpinnings, if any, could these approaches themselves involve?

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