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Aesthetics Equals Politics book review

Posted July 15, 2019, 5:22 p.m. by T

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Aesthetics Equals Politics: New Discourses across Art, Architecture, and Philosophy

The MIT Press

 

There are a range of quotes that came to mind from the title along, e.g. Paul Rand’s formulation that design can be art or aesthetics, i.e. the idea of beauty, and that the fact that it is so simple, is why it is so complicated.

When it comes to politics, Dante Alighieri was spot on when he came to the realization that the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

What Aesthetics Equals Politics: New Discourses across Art, Architecture, and Philosophy revolves around is the framework that informs human interaction and engagement at large, be it politically or socially.

Comprised of a range of essays, the tome starts off with framing common ground when it comes to a definition of aesthetics, i.e. something that is not confined to subjectivity or denominators dependent on taste but casting a wider net that captures human activity at large and thereby informs political and societal developments. Bottomline is that despite activists having used an anti-aesthetic approach to effect political changes, this new approach which examines and questions man’s relationship with objects and environments, is ultimately more impactful as it inevitably will arrive at relationships and result in political change.

The wide array of angles from which the subject matter is being tackled is intriguing as it does not only involve philosophers but also artists, luminaries from fields such as architecture and media, which aid in making a comprehensive case and sheds light on the fact that even though the contributors might be home in an unrelated field to yours, there is common ground.

I found the essays pertaining to the perception of reality and the abstraction in ethics particularly enlightening and would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for food for thought and to broaden their horizons.

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