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Aesthetics in Dialogue

Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World

Edited By Zoltan Somhegyi and Max Ryynänen

The impact of aesthetics is increasing again. For today’s scholars, aesthetic theories are a significant companion and contribution in studying and ana-lysing cultural phenomena and production. Today’s scene of aesthetics is more global than what it is in most disciplines, as it does not just include scholars from all over the world, but also keeps on applying philosophical traditions globally
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16 Aesthetics of the Past and the Future: Human Life within Changing Environments (Yvonne Förster)


Yvonne Förster

AbstractThis chapter analyses the aesthetics of technological life-worlds in science-fiction in analogy to historical Asian landscape paintings. Science-fiction movies and landscape painting would appear to have very little in common. There is nevertheless a connection between the aesthetics of landscape painting and imagining future technology: both stage environments in their own way. They are environments in which the human being seldom occupies a central position. Both also play with the image of the human being and her bodiliness. From an aesthetic perspective, the main difference between the old landscape paintings and the recent science-fiction-scapes is the position of human life within them. Traditional Asian landscape paintings do not center on the human figure. Human life is embedded within the larger scope of the mesocosmos. In this regard, landscape painting is closer to post-anthropocene criticism of the humanistic subject than is contemporary popular culture. A decentralized and yet embedded and entangled human existence is in certain regards a very modern image. It is compatible with philosophical positions in critical posthumanism (Rosi Braidotti) and ecological theories (Luciana Parisi and Erich Hörl). The environments depicted in science-fiction on the other hand are dominated by human and technological agency. Human life is central to these images. And, as with the landscape paintings, the beholder is affected in a bodily way – but differently. While the paintings evoke a bodily knowledge and situatedness that dates back to early evolutionary stages of human life and culture, science fiction evokes pain and...

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