Introduction -- The symbolic form of art -- Kant's theory of the mathematical sublime and the boundlessness of the symbolic form of art -- The classical sublimity of Judaism -- The classical form of art -- The original epic -- The ideal -- The transition to the revealed religion and the romantic form of art -- The revealed religion -- Representational thought and the romantic form of art -- Traces of left-hegelianism in Hegel's lectures on aesthetics -- The end of (...) mythology -- The significance of Kierkegaard's interpretation of Don Giovanni in relation to Hegel's theory of the end of art -- The end of art -- The opera as a modern art form -- Hegel and Lukács's on the possibility of a modern epic -- The problem of a modern epic -- The modern epic and history -- Civil society as the background to the modern epic -- Myth and society : a common theme in the thought of Hegel and Sorel -- Sorel's myth of the general strike -- Myth and modern ethical life. (shrink)
Arnold Gehlen is one of the most controversial figures of German intellectual history. Gehlen’s commitment to National Socialism (a commitment he never disavowed) is mostly seen in close connection with his theoretical focus on institutions. According to Gehlen, what mankind requires above all is order and thus the protection of institutions. And yet, by reducing Gehlen’s sociology to the necessity of order one misses the analytical scope of his writings. As this article aims to show, the strength of Gehlen’s sociology (...) lies less in its theory of institutionalization than in its attempt to comprehend change, i.e. the conceptual clarification of the interplay between radical innovation and institutionalization. In order to apprehend Gehlen’s understanding of change we have to look at his sociology of art as it is art which works as ‘a small symbol of society’. To approach Gehlen from this perspective is not to rehabilitate the controversial thinker. Instead, I am trying to show that Gehlen’s theoretical framework is as complex as modern culture itself and should therefore not prematurely be declared a reactionary testimony of the past. (shrink)
As a universal theory Luhmann's systems theory of society includes art in its ambit. The Art of Society (1995) reconstructs the formal and the social-historical conditions of the functional differentiation of a system of art since the Renaissance. The methodological focus of the reconstruction - Luhmann's theory of form (perception, first and second order observation, medium and form) and of systemic differentiation (social function, self-organization, codes and programmes, evolution and self-description of art) - are analysed in the first (...) part of the paper. The second part examines the unresolved question of the code of the art system, the hermeneutic circle integral to Luhmann's theory design, and the relation of his theory of art to the `aesthetic epoch' of art theory with special reference to Heidegger and Adorno. (shrink)
This collection of essays explores different perceptions of space, taking the reader on a journey from the inner space of the mind to the vacuum beyond Earth. Eight leading researchers span a broad range of fields, from the arts and humanities to the natural sciences. They consider topics ranging from human consciousness to virtual reality, architecture and politics. The essays are written in an accessible style for a general audience.
Art has the power to affect our thinking, changing not only the way we view and interact with the world but also how we create it. In Art in Mind , Ernst van Alphen probes this idea of art as a commanding force with the capacity to shape our intellect and intervene in our lives. Rather than interpreting art as merely a reflection of our social experience or a product of history, van Alphen here argues that art is a historical (...) agent, or a cultural creator, that propels thought and experience forward. Examining a broad range of works, van Alphen—a renowned art historian and cultural theorist—demonstrates how art serves a socially constructive function by actually experimenting with the parameters of thought. Employing work from artists as diverse as Picasso, Watteau, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, and Matthew Barney, he shows how art confronts its viewers with the "pain points" of cultural experience-genocide, sexuality, diaspora, and transcultural identity-and thereby transforms the ways in which human existence is conceived. Van Alphen analyzes how art visually "thinks" about these difficult cultural issues, tapping into an understudied interpretation of art as the realm where ideas and values are actively created, given form, and mobilized. In this way, van Alphen's book is a work of art in itself as it educates us in a new mode of thought that will forge equally new approaches and responses to the world. (shrink)
This book offers an original approach to avant-garde art and its transformative force. Presenting an alternative to the approaches to art developed in postmodern theory or cultural studies, Ziarek sees art's significance in its critique of power and the increasing technologization of social relations. Re-examining avant-garde art and literature, from Italian and Russian Futurism and Dadaism, to Language poetry, video and projection art, as well as transgenic and Internet art, this book argues that art's importance today cannot be explained simply (...) in aesthetic or cultural terms but has to take into consideration how artworks question the technological character of modern power. To emphasize the transformative character of art, the book redefines art as a force field, in which forces drawn from historical and social reality come be to formed into an alternative relationality. Through discussions of such key avant-garde figures as Marinetti, Duchamp, Khlebnikov, and Vertov, and innovative contemporary artists like Viola, Wodiczko and Kac, The Force of Art counters the pessimism about art's social function by recovering and redefining art's transformative role in modernity. (shrink)
Germany's leading contemporary social theorist provides a definitive analysis of art as a social and perceptual system which not only represents an important intellectual step in discussions of art but also an important advance in systems theory. Luhmann insists on the radical incommensurability between psychic systems (perception) and social systems (communication). Art is a special kind of communication that operates at the boundary between the social system and consciousness in ways that profoundly irritate communication while remaining strictly internal to the (...) social. Each chapter elaborates a particular aspect of the general problem of art's status as a social system. The book draws on a vast body of research in the social sciences, phenomenology, evolutionary biology, cybernetics, and information theory, combined with an intimate knowledge of art history, literature, aesthetics, and contemporary literary theory. The book also engages virtually every major theorist of art and aesthetics from Baumgarten to Derrida. (shrink)