Entering the seventh day of our dialogue, it’s become clear to me just how much more there is to be explored on our subject. While there are still four days to go, I’m already entertaining the idea of expanding our conversation in book form. In the meantime, however, I want to thank those readers who’ve offered their comments and to encourage more of the same on any of the material we’ve covered. As always, panelists too are welcome to continue threads from past sessions in addition to considering any new ones that might emerge over the next two days. The introduction to Session IV and its questions are below.
Session IV: Posthumanism Made Flesh: Forging a New Century with a Reoriented Aesthetics
Thursday, December 10 - Friday, December 11
Having laid the groundwork for a new posthumanist aesthetics, in this session we will consider what kinds of embodied forms such an aesthetics might give rise to and how they might be experienced by human (and perhaps nonhuman) bodies.
4.1 Are there certain kinds of aesthetic form that seem especially consonant with posthumanist values, and if so how might our human artifacts better embody them?
4.2 Are there certain materials that seem especially consonant with these values, and if so how can our human-made forms make better use of them?
4.3 The environmentalist Robin Wall Kimmerer has called for a "grammar of animacy" -- a new approach to language that will more accurately reflect the vitality of the natural world. Can something analogous be developed in the visual sphere?
4.4 Given that so much of our contemporary technology is the product of a distinctly humanist agenda, is there a role for technology in an aesthetics oriented toward the decentering of the human?
4.5 If visual perception is no longer reducible to vision alone, and if conceptual thought is no longer separable from the sensorium that gives rise to it, might this mean the erosion of the conventional distinctions between the various artistic disciplines? What might it mean for the tacit hierarchy that places the crafts and decoration beneath the fine arts and design?
4.6 By way of expanding current ideas about spectatorship, can we imagine alternative ways for our species to experience -- or indeed participate in -- aesthetic expression?
4.7 Is there a role for other species in posthumanist art?