Prague Aesthetics Lectures 

Prague Aesthetics Lectures is a guest lecture series organized by the Aesthetics Department at Charles University. The aim of the series is to present promising avenues of research shaping current philosophical aesthetics. For more information, contact Tereza Hadravova (tereza.hadravovaATff.cuni.cz)

UPCOMING LECTURES

In 2021/ 2022, the lectures and workshop are part of 4EUplus project “Public Art in Poland, Italy, and the Czech Republic” which is carried out by researchers coming from Warsaw (Adam Andrzejewski, Marta Maliszewska), Milan (Andrea Borghini, Nicola Piras), and Prague (Tereza Hadravova, Sabrina Muchova).

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021, 15:00

ONLINE

Public Art in Poland, Italy, and the Czech Republic

Online Workshop: Presentation of work-in-progress and discussion

Adam Andrzejewski and Marta Maliszewska (University of Warsaw)

Rural Public Art

The paper aims at analyzing the role of public art in rural areas in Poland. Our investigation is initiated by the intuition that in inhabited rural areas that are lacking public institutions (that is, where almost every space is privately owned) public art could play a significant role as a means of prompting to create public space in a proper sense. It is suggested that public art in inhabited rural areas affects space differently than public art in urban areas, where it primarily modifies already existing public space. We shall further investigate what kind of public is a proper recipient of a particular work of public art. The following hypothesis is formulated: Some public artworks are designed to be perceived by more than one public.

Andrea Borghini and Nicola Piras (University of Milan)

Eating Local as Public Art?

In a recent paper, Borghini & Baldini (2021) defended the thesis that dining and cooking can be considered as forms of public art. In this paper we develop Borghini and Baldini’s discussion, by considering whether specific kinds of dining and cooking—eating local—can be considered as a form of public art. In order to do so, we first rehearse extant definitions on eating local, to then return to the main question at stake, which we assess in terms of specific case studies for local food as memorial art, as social protest art, and art that enhances. Finally, we conclude by stressing two contributions that local food can offer to public art.

Tereza Hadravová and Sabrina Muchová (Charles University in Prague)

Speed up or Slow down. On Temporality of Public Art

In this article, we want to draw attention to temporal aspects of (some) public artworks. We think that relation between time aspects of works and places as well as activities and practices usually classified as public art do explain why transfers between spaces are, sometimes, possible. Moreover, we suggest that by paying attention to mutual relations of temporal features of works and places they are displayed at, we may better understand when public art is found valuable and when it seems to fail. And finally, the mutual temporal relations of works of art and the places also help to illuminate that places themselves are to be described and understood as much in spatial terms as temporal ones

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021, 15:30

Dům u Minuty (Skautský institut, Staroměstské náměstí)

Adam Andrzejewski (University of Warsaw, Poland)

Atmospheres, Urban Sites, and Metaphysics

Atmosphere is one of key ideas in contemporary aesthetics. Contrary to the widespread view, I argue that an atmosphere is not a “quasi-thing”, or “half-thing”, but rather a relational feature of a given site that exists only when it is experienced by someone. At the same time, my discussion of the metaphysics of atmospheres will provide better understanding of the idea of urban atmosphere as characteristic of a particular site as well as a whole city.

Adam Andrzejewski is a philosopher affiliated the University of Warsaw. His research is focused on analytic aesthetics and philosophy of art, everyday aesthetics, and theory of popular culture.

Šárka Zahálková (GAMPA, Pardubice)

Malleable Memory

Malleable Memory is a title of the Art for Public Space of Pardubice event, which took place in Fall 2020 and consisted of the series of temporary installations in public spaces, complemented by live art events, walks, and happenings.

Šárka Zahálková is GAMPA programme director and a curator of Malleable Memory festival. She co-founded and leads the Offcity association, which takes part in international discourse on art in public spaces.

 

PAST LECTURES

In 2020/2021, the lectures will be a part of a course titled Aesthetics in the 21st Century held at the Aesthetics Department and taught by Tereza Hadravová.

All lectures and discussions are held in English. The lectures are freely accessible and everybody is welcome.

MAY 6, 2021, 6:00 pm, zoom

Hanne Appelqvist (Helsinki University, Finland)

Art’s Part in Wittgenstein’s Philosophy

Many philosophers, especially those representing the analytic mainstream, tend to read Wittgenstein’s remarks on aesthetics and the arts as his personal musings or aphorisms disconnected from his more “serious” philosophy. There are several reasons for such a perception. The way in which Wittgenstein’s Nachlass has been made available to readers effectively isolates his remarks on aesthetics from their original context of broader philosophical discussions. Moreover, the analytic tradition itself typically treats aesthetics as a minor subfield of philosophy, not relevantly related to such core fields as metaphysics, epistemology, or logic. Hence, if viewed from the analytic perspective, the intermittent and seemingly unmotivated way in which aesthetics surfaces in Wittgenstein’s work may seem quite erratic. However, if placed in the context of the Kantian tradition, Wittgenstein’s approach becomes quite understandable. Such a reading, which has recently gained more momentum, serves to show that for Wittgenstein aesthetics has a pride of place in the philosophical quest for the limits of our experience. Or so I will argue.

 

MAY 13, 2021, 6:00 pm, zoom

Iris Vidmar Jovanović (Rijeka University, Croatia)

Dangers of Art: Plato’s Call to Censorship in Contemporary Aesthetics

Over the last few years, several prominent philosophers of art have written extensively on the ‘ethics of engagement’ with art (Plantinga). Some have considered the possibility of sanctioning the artists for the immoral dimension of their works or of their deeds in creating the works (Nannicelli), while others have defended the art’s autonomy and insisted on separating it from their creators (Harold). All the while, the artists themselves keep offering us new challenges regarding the ethical evaluation and criticism of their creations. Whether it is their character or that of their work that is morally contentious, or both, it seems that Plato’s worries regarding the capacity of art to morally corrupt us have never been more plausible. My aim in this talk is to examine some of the current proposals regarding the ethical criticism of art. I will argue that to face Plato’s challenges, we need to understand better the imaginative, affective, and cognitive dimension of our art experiences. My proposal is to approach the challenge of the ethical criticism of art from an informed perspective, one which takes into consideration the context of art-creation and what exactly goes on in our minds and bodies as we engage with an artwork.

 

MAY 20, 2021, 6:00 pm, zoom

Isidora Stojanović (Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris, France)

Some reflections on valence in aesthetic judgments

Adjectives such as ‘harrowing’, ‘disturbing’, ‘terrifying’ and ‘shocking’ have a negative valence, at least looking from a lexical point of view; they express emotions and experiences that are considered to be negative. Nevertheless, when used to assess works of aesthetics (in particular, in literature, film, and theatre), they typically express positive evaluations. In this talk, I will explore several mechanisms in which negatively valenced terms can give expression to positive evaluations, and discuss the implications for the semantics and pragmatics of aesthetic discourse.

 

MAY 27, 2021, 6 pm, zoom

Elisabeth Schellekens (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Art and Knowledge: The Cognitive Yield of Aesthetic Experience 

The debate between aesthetic cognitivists and anti-cognitivists concerns whether we can learn from engaging aesthetically with art and, if so, what kind of knowledge or understanding we can acquire in this way. Despite their many differences, most cognitivists and anti-cognitivists agree that the epistemic gain we seem to make from artistic experience often resists clear-cut formulation, and sometimes even loses most of its significance in isolation from that experience. In Gregory Currie’s Imagining and Knowing (OUP 2020) for example, we are warned against the underlying cognitivist assumption that literature educates us in ways that are “too subtle, too pervasive” to be measured against our usual epistemic standards. In this paper, I argue for an alternative way of casting the original problem. I argue against two accounts of the relation between aesthetic value and cognitive value in art, what I call the ‘autonomy model’ and the ‘enabler model’, and suggest another explanation grounded in a revision of our concept of aesthetic value. On my view, aesthetic experience can itself be cognitively yielding in so far as the epistemic gain can be seen as part of the work’s distinctly aesthetic value. Experiencing the aesthetic value of artwork can then be a form of understanding in itself. I distinguish between a cumulative and a subtractive account of aesthetic knowledge and highlight the advantages of the former.

 

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