The Periphery of Concepts : Notes on Dynamics of Some Aesthetic Categories


LEE Lenka KRAJTL Ondřej

Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In her book Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting, Sianne Ngai deals with her choice of aesthetic categories, which in the past was in the periphery of the interest of aesthetic theory, but, in the postmodern capitalist society, became key tools for evaluating (not only) works of art. These categories are - according to her - connected with the current social processes - the production, the reception and the distribution of cultural artefacts - which distinctly reflect current social dynamics. With reference to a social, economic and historical context in which we today describe the consumed works as zany, cute and interesting, according to Ngai, we can observe the representational practices and also a specific way of thinking and perception. The aesthetic categories thus reflect the norms and values of a certain epoch and through transfers of the categories between periphery and centre, the historically anchored determination of the aesthetic, its interest and key problems over time can be established. The submitted contribution characterizes the dynamics which Ngai describes in theory and practice, and shows that through this variability also historical epochs and cultural changes can be examined. Aside from the categories which are treated by Ngai, we will focus on the classical “big” aesthetic categories treated by the medieval scholar Hugh of St Victor in his treatise De tribus diebus (On the Three Days). We are attempting to find an intersection point between the concepts of aesthetic of authors living almost a thousand years apart.
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