Sunday, February 10, 2008

The origin of Art as a social and conceptual category

The Social Construction of Aesthetics 1, 2 and 3:
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This Component comprises introductory photo essay in two parts, with commentaries into the social distinctions between High Art and Common Culture, suggesting how the distinctions are socially constructed to establish and police regimes of taste that are class, race and gender based. The journey takes us from icons of the art world, into the world of common culture, developing on the way linkages that blur the original distinctions, before returning to the critically question of how these distinctions are created and who creates them. The analysis is extended and continued to connect with the politics of identity,demonstratting how at and the aesthetic are intimately and irrevocably tied to issues of Voice.
This introductiion leads naturally into the second PDF, Critical Aesthetics 2 which develops a more analytical and in-depth analysis of the philosophy and ideology of the Aesthetic, moving towards a conception of Art as a search for cultural identity and Voice.

A 30 Page PDF which follows on from Critical Aesthetics 1, analysing the field of aesthetics from a Critical Postmodern viewpoint. This PDF charts the lineage of Critical Aesthetics back to its origins in Critical Theory and (more recently) Contemporary Cultural Studies. It interrogates the origin of Art as a social and conceptual category and its role in the development of Capitalism and colonisation. It reviews the role of the Church in both the development of Art and in the parallel processes of colonialism.
It then moves on to critically interrogate the Western philosophic of the Aesthetic promoted by Kant which still animates current conceptions and theories. In the process we look at the role of Gender in Art, specifically the role of the nude. This leads to a critique of the role of rationality in Art and in the Aesthetic, together with an analysis of the role and process or Aesthetic legitimation, which allows us to engage with some postmodern theories of Art as Resistance. This leads naturally to the final part of this critique, Critical Aesthetics 3.
This is the final part of a 3 part Critical analysis of the field of Aesthetics, comprising a 28 page PDF which picks up where Critical Aesthetics 2 ended. We start by recalling the Art of Resistance, and, via an analysis of the morality of the Aesthetic we interrogate its role as an instrument of oppression and repression in its capacity to demonise and stereotype. In particular we note its historical role in the domain of sexual repression and colonisation. We take up again the notion of rationality, this time noting different forms of rationality - most significantly transformational rationality - that is, the form of rationality that does not shrink from confronting issues of injustice and cultural exclusion. We link this to the politics of identity and the role of the critical artist in the modern world.

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