The Future of Aesthetics; Tronheim, 11.6.2009


The annual conference of The Nordic Society of Aesthetics will take place at Trondheim University 11–14 June 2009

The topic of the annual conference in 2009 is the future of aesthetics. The field of aesthetics is under pressure; on the one hand economic and political interests are making themselves increasingly evident, both in conventional art and in other cultural arenas. On the other hand the field of aesthetics exhibits a greater variety of views, methods, and fields of interest than ever before. This situation invites reflection on future possibilities of aesthetics, but also enforces the question of whether aesthetics has a future at all. The last decades have witnessed an increasing interest in applying aesthetic perspectives to activities and objects outside the traditional domain of art, leading to a broadening of the concept of the aesthetic. Installation artist Rirkrit Tiravanija’s curry dinners may serve as a simple, yet striking illustration, of the challenge from the artworld heading in this direction. The aesthetic also appears to play a more prominent part in our environment as ever more areas of our life-world is made subject to aesthetic demands. This reorientation towards a wider and more sense oriented conception of the aesthetic might also be connected with new approaches to the relation between nature and art. Partly motivated by impulses from different types of philosophical monism (Deleuze, Latour, Serres), partly by inspiration from the natural sciences (ecology, biology, computer science, etc.), partly by political impulses (fair trade, environmental crisis, etc.), it seems like the artworld, as well as aesthetic theory, are about to redefine its relation to nature. Eduardo Kac’s “bio-ethical” art projects like GFP Bunny, Stelarc’s and Orlan’s body modifications and machine-human projects, or George Gessert’s “plant ethical” Iris projects, might all serve as examples of this.

We are interested in contributions dealing with the question of the future of aesthetics in a wide sense. Theoretical as well as empirical oriented presentations are welcome, not least, contributions with an interdisciplinary approach, as well as contributions dealing with other topics within the field of aesthetics.

Presentations may be in English or in one of the Scandinavian languages. Abstracts not exceeding 200 words should be submitted by e-mail to: estetikkonferanse(at) before March 2nd, 2009. We also welcome participation without presentation of a paper.

The conference is open to members of the Nordic Society of Aesthetics as well as non-members. The conference fee for non-members is NOK 400 (to be paid at the conference).

Keynote speakers: Gernot Böhme (Darmstadt), Siglind Bruhn (Michigan/Sorbonne), Christoph Menke (Potsdam)