The European Society for Aesthetics Conference took place in the Department of Philosophy of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Barcelona in June past.
Members of the Aesthetics Group presented papers on a variety of topics. Néill O’Dwyer presented a paper “Death and Ecstasy: Reflections on a Technological Sublime” which focused on the shift, taking place in the arts, brought about by the migration from mechanical to digital technology and the import of software into working processes.The materialisation of mathematics and algorithms in artistic practice was highlighted which led to a questioning of the experiential shift taking place in the encounter with new digitalised art forms.
Mick O’Hara presented a paper titled “Tracing the Invisible” which addressed Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive reading of Merleau-Ponty, focusing particularly on both philosophers’ writings on the visual arts. Defending Merleau-Ponty, the paper considered the role of embodiment in the mark making processes of drawing and painting while pointing to Merleau-Ponty’s deepening ontology of his later work.
Connell Vaughan returned to the experiential nature of digital media offering a critical analysis of iconoclasm in state building with a particular focus in Islamic State’s mobilisation of digital technology and the deliberate digital documentation of the destruction of cultural heritage sites. The paper titled “Statecraft: Vandalism and Iconoclasm in the Digital Age” argued that such documentation was strategic and not simply blind iconoclasm but vandalism in the service of state formation.
The Proceedings from the conference have just been published and can be read and downloaded here.