Monday, August 24, 2015

Schedule, Space, Content

Dear students of Philosophy of Art for Post-Contemporary Artists

This is a course on aesthetics (i.e. philosophy of art) and philosophical art theory. I am applying two notable strategies for reading and studying aesthetics on this course.

1) We will study a lot scholars and discussions, who/which have a major role in the formation of today's theoretical paradigms and discussions. We are so interested in the unavoidable. We will, though, not subordinate ourselves to the tradition. In his Manifesto Antropófago (1928) Oswald de Andrade suggests that Brasilians should cope with European thinking and art the way the Tupi people (then called indians) were claimed to have done in the 16th Century, i.e. by eating them (cannibalism; so acquiring their strength). A local version of this could accentuate my role as a 'teacher' (i.e. trip advisor): here up north the shamans ate amanita muscaria, took all the pains delivered by the poison of the mushroom and then delivered just a trip to the community (which drank the pee). I have gone through this partly bad trip of Western, Eurocentric, 'dead male' philosophy, and I try to just deliver to you the most valuable goods.

2) We will discuss all possible theorists who can aid us on this trip. People who are not usually a part of the Western canon, like Al-Ghazali and Abhinavagupta, will pop up, and help us to achieve our goals - and even thinkers who are not part of any truly academic canon, like Timothy Leary and Susan Sontag, will have a role here. I am also inviting you, especially doctoral students (but also MA students), to bring in your own expertise and interests, not just to discuss our issues, but even to give a talk in the spring, to share your knowledge.

Psychedelia and cannibalism are just allegories for our theoretical approach (I don't, actually, even drink very much alcohol). We will also respect the ethnic central European and American traditions which produced Adorno, Benjamin, Dewey, Heidegger, Eco and Vattimo (this is where modern aesthetics ends for me, what follows is post-mortem).

The contemporary part of the course will focus on what I conceive of as interesting 'right now'. As it is not yet the end of the course, it is hard to say who and what will be discussed in the end (then 'now'). It might be a combination of Gayatri Spivak, bell hooks, Giorgio Agamben, Luce Irigaray and Michael Taussig. Hopefully the spring will also include visitors who will speak about Levinas and Kristeva.

Most lectures focus on one thinker. We try to grab his/her thinking holistically.

To get the credits:

MA: if you have attended the class, write a one page (Times New Roman, paragraph 1,5) essay about the lecture and the text which accompanies it. Next class, give the printed essay to me - and you will get some response (by e-mail, but remember to write your name and e-mail on the paper).  When you haven't been attending the class, write a three page (Times New Roman 12, paragraph 1,5) essay to me. If you are late with texts, don't give them to me later than the last time we meet during the fall (23.11). It is strictly mandatory for MA students to attend the first lecture.

Doctoral: write to me one essay in the fall, and another in the spring (7 pages each, and one page extra for every session you miss (in the end you don't need to be around at all, if you want)).

About the essay: I am interested to see if you have understood the lecture(s), but even more what kind of thoughts it (together with the text(s)) raised in you. You can react to the content on a very personal level.

You can complete the whole course just by writing essays and attending only the first lecture. But on the other hand... There are easier ways to collect credits and more productive ways to read and write. The choice, however, is yours. One thing you have to think about is the fact that we accumulate knowledge throughout the whole year and it might become hard to understand the lectures in Spring if you haven't attended them during the Fall.

If you come late, don't start commenting actively on the lecture, often the main info comes in the beginning. The same applies to the whole course. If you have been a lot away, remember that many particles important for the lecture have been given already on some other lectures. We accumulate knowledge throughout the whole year.

All lectures are held 4 PM - 6 PM at Otakaari 1, A2.

Try to be in time! Some thinkers are really hard to crack and if you miss the first minutes it might be hard to understand the lecture.


I will grade the course with the following system:

1 you have sent me text, and it made sense
2 you have also understood something and you have presented some of your own thoughts
3 you have a good understanding of the content and you have some good thoughts / critiques about the issues we discussed
4 you have done a very good work
5 je ne sais quoi (a quality that cannot be described or named easily): to get this grade you probably have to sit a lot on the lectures to understand what I consider to be good work - or then you are just lucky... anyway: I think that you have done a superb work!



Wed, October 5 
The text: "Culture Industry" (on the right (link)) and in many books (Dialektik der Aufklärung, Dialectic of Enlightenment, Valistuksen dialektiikka (Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer))


Wed, October 26 JOHN DEWEY

Visiting lecturer: doctoral student Oleksandra Sushchenko (Aalto ARTS)


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