Re: aesthetic theory

From: Adam Trowbridge (email suppressed)
Date: Mon May 07 2007 - 19:52:34 PDT

> I just thought my reading suggestions would address the request
better, particularly given that Liam makes reference to fine art.

As I said, I think your approach is sound but I didn't see a reason
for a qualitative comparison to Jack's or anyone else's list.

The Writing of Disaster is an exploration of how one can continue to
write, or begin to write, after humanity's disasters of the early to
mid-20th century. The Tears of Eros explores the vibration between
violence and beauty. (I have no read the Derrida text Jack
suggested). I think the approach, in suggesting these books, is the
difference between defining a thing and suggesting a series of events
that might create a lapse, to suggest reading that might open onto
something new. I don't think you could walk away from Jack's list and
tell someone what aesthetics is but I think you will have covered
vital issues related to contemporary aesthetics.

There are multiple approaches of course but I see nothing better
about yours in comparison to Jack's unless I am misunderstanding the
motive behind asking about aesthetics. What is art? Why do people
make art? What is beauty? Personally, I'm interested in exploring
these questions scientifically and artistically. Artistically, I
think looking to Blanchot, Bataille and Nietzsche, even if they are
not addressing those questions directly (I would argue that they
are), is a sensible approach. Scientifically, which really hasn't
been addressed, I have read a couple things by V.S. Ramachandran in
regards to a neurological theory of art. "A Brief Tour of Human
Consciousness" has only a short chapter that addresses it. I have not
yet read his "The Science of Art: A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic

Adam Trowbridge
email suppressed

On May 7, 2007, at 7:55 PM, Bernard Roddy wrote:

Thank you, Adam. I didn't mean to devalue Jack's suggestions, to
control the conversation, or to recommend reading at the cost of
making. Actually, I would prefer to read work he includes as
recommendations to any of the writing addressed to what I think of as
"aesthetics." I just thought my reading suggestions would address
the request better, particularly given that Liam makes reference to
fine art. I have read a couple essays by Blanchot, one of which is
an excellent discussion of Sade. As far as I know, he does not talk
about visual art. I could be wrong, but I believe the book, The
Writing of the Disaster, is not a discussion of visual art. I have
Bataille's book, The Tears of Eros, which is about the history of
art, but I think he restricts himself to figurative historical
painting, and this seems to be his only writing on visual art. I
don't think it's very substantial or serves an interest in aesthetics
very well. It's true that my suggestions are all art
  historical and not particularly inspirational. As far as I can
tell, this is basically the fate of aesthetics. It's also true that
there's a series of publications that includes writers like Emmanuel
Levinas and that is called "Crossing Aesthetics." I have yet to
understand just what these texts have to do with aesthetics.
Whatever the connection, they are certainly worth reading as an artist.


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