Note to readers: Although our panelists are no longer in conversation on this site, we will continue to welcome comments through the end of the year. Please check back in late December for a link to the full transcript.

Session V

Session V: Art Beyond Art: Reimagining Aesthetic Form as a Cultural Force
Saturday, December 12 - Sunday, December 13

In the face of the radical changes that the next few decades are sure to bring -- not least among them the fallout from whatever we do, or do not do, about climate change -- art made by and for an elite insider group is becoming increasingly untenable. In this final session we will consider ways in which aesthetic form might operate in the larger culture to sow the kinds of values we have been discussing in this symposium. 

5.1    Does the emerging turn away form human exceptionalism open up possibilities for art's role in culture? In what ways can we imagine art facilitating -- or indeed challenging -- the larger cultural shifts underway?

5.2    In what ways might a posthumanist art change the way art is taught, discussed, and written about? Can we imagine a way of teaching, speaking, and writing about art that deprioritizes the intentions or biographical narrative of the individual maker?

5.3    Can a new understanding of aesthetic form facilitate what Rebekah Sheldon has called choradic reading, a new trend in scholarship that incorporates embodied interactions into the transmission of ideas?

5.4    Nora Bateson has speculated that the future will be founded "in the logic of affect," meaning that the how of how knowledge is conveyed -- the tone of an article, the shape of the language -- will become valued as a kind of knowledge in itself. Can we imagine ways in which visual art might participate in this burgeoning awareness of the power of form?

5.5    The environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht has proposed the word symbiocene for the geological era we are entering as we part ways with the anthropocene. In keeping with the word's prefix, in what ways might visual art encourage a sense of interpersonal, interspecies, and intercultural cohesion?

5.6    How has the pandemic changed how we think about and experience art, and do we anticipate that some of these changes will be permanent?

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