Exploring aesthetic experiences and practices
Andrew Whitehouse (University of Aberdeen)
Sara Asu Schroer (University of Oslo)
Convention Centre Lecture Hall-II
Start time:
5 April, 2012 at 15:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel explores the aesthetics of experience and the activities through which these are created, enhanced and revealed. How are direct engagements with the world idealised and how does this influence the meaning and affects of experience?

Long abstract:

When humans encounter the world their experience is often guided and understood ethically and in terms of ideals of what that encounter should be like. How should they act? What sort of effects, or indeed affects, should emerge? What should their environment be like? In short, these experiences are aesthetic. In this panel we aim to explore the aesthetics of experience, of how people idealise their direct engagement with the world and how this influences the meaning and affectiveness of experience. We focus particularly on the relations between activities, whether mundane or skilled, and the creation, enhancement and revelation of the aesthetic qualities of experience. How do the intentions of people to conduct particular activities or to exercise certain skills influence what they hope for in their encounters with the world? For example, how do practices such as farming, tourism or hunting guide the perception, appreciation, meaning or morality of a landscape? In taking this focus we explicitly reject an aesthetics that is only concerned with the disinterested appreciation of form and of 'aesthetic objects'. Instead we encourage papers that delight in entangled, multi-sensory and affective encounters and that wish to explore how such experiences are desired, judged, remembered and made meaningful. Such encounters could be with or involve landscape, non-humans, art, music, sport or other skilled practices. They might be everyday encounters or quite exceptional. We invite work across a range of disciplines in addition to anthropology, including geography, history, ethnomusicology and philosophy.