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The New Centre for Research & Practice
4739 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
INSTRUCTOR: Jean-Pierre Caron
PROGRAM: Critical Philosophy
DATE: Saturdays, May 18, 25, June 1, 8
TIME: 11 AM — 1:30 PM EST
The problem of the ontology of artworks has been very much at the front of analytic aesthetics in the last decades. Ever since the publication of Nelson Goodman´s Languages of art, there´s has emerged a whole plethora of various positions in this regard. From Goodman´s nominalism and Gregory Currie´s ‘eventural’ platonism to David Davies performative theory, analytic philosophy has been trying to cope with the variability of art practice and its conditions of existence.
This Seminar takes this variety not just as a disagreement regarding the ontological status of art, amongst which one can choose the winning position, but as a symptom of a difficulty stemming from the practice itself. In this sense, the first part of the course intends to be a presentation and a critique of most of the existing positions within analytical ontology of art. By taking ontology (and the variability exhibited therein) as a sympton rather than as a solution, we propose to expose the ontological approach as concealing rather than explicating the dynamics proper to the art practice itself.
Changing the mode of the Seminar in its second part from the presentation and description to prospective, this hypothesis then is used to guide us through an elaboration of two different tendencies present in the field of the philosophy of aesthetics which tries to either supersede it or “hack” it from within: those that we thematize under the heading experience against art, represented in this Seminar by the thought and practice of the Cagean avant-garde; and those we call art against experience- in which the autonomy of art practice is used as a leverage over which to criticize not just empirical reality, as Adorno would have it, but the normative infrastructure itself that is responsible for the emergence of artworks.
This last hypothesis is equivalent to the taking of the normativity of action (as depicted among others by Wittgenstein, Sellars, and Brandom) as material for th so-called “aesthetic” practice, offering a critique of that which by being concealed behind experience is a condition of aesthetic experience itself.
Image: Heimrad Prem,Das rote Dorf,1934