Frames, handles and landscapes: Georg Simmel and the aesthetic ecology of things

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2016) Frames, handles and landscapes: Georg Simmel and the aesthetic ecology of things. In: Kemple, Thomas, and Pyyhtinen, Olli, (eds.) The Anthem Companion to Georg Simmel. Anthem Companions to Sociology . Anthem Press, London, UK, pp. 161-184.

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Abstract

[Extract] The debate between so-called formalists, who are interested in the inner mechanics of visual, literary and sonic objects, and so-called historicists, who see art through the lens of ideology, discourse and society, has well and truly run out of steam. As I have argued elsewhere (de la Fuente 2007; 2010a; 2010b; 2015), there has recently been a renewed emphasis on the 'agencies' or 'affordances' of art (Acord and DeNora 2008; Gell 1998), on the materiality of aesthetic practices (Mukerji 1983), the kinds of passions engendered by art forms (Benzecry 2011; Hennion 2005 ), and even grudging recognition that social scientists interested in aesthetic matters may have something to learn from art historians and psychologists of art (Tanner 2004). If I had to nominate one prevalent characteristic within these trends in aesthetic thinking, it would be a desire to 'reanimate' what we mean by 'context'. Context itself has become something that we can't take for granted or assume in some a priori manner. If I can borrow from recent literatures in geography on the dynamic and relational character of place and space, we need a type of thinking that re-awakens or brings back to life 'Dead Context' (Thrift and Dewsbury 2000). Context as a living organism is much more than the 'lived experience' of the subject - that line of inquiry reinforces the assumption of an unbridgeable gap between materiality and sentience. A re-animated concept of context will need to be relational and dynamic, focused on both possibility and constraint, attentive to 'Life' as well as to 'form'.

Item ID: 40370
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-78308-278-0
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2016 06:32
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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