In this wide-ranging book, renowned philosopher and cultural theorist Peter Sloterdijk examines art in all its rich and varied forms: from music to architecture, light to movement, and design to typography. Moving between the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible, his analyses span the centuries, from ancient civilizations to contemporary Hollywood. With great verve and insight he considers the key issues that have faced thinkers from Aristotle to Adorno, looking at art in its relation to ethics, metaphysics, society, politics, anthropology and the subject. Sloterdijk explores a variety of topics, from the Greco-Roman invention of postcards to the rise of the capitalist art market, from the black boxes and white cubes of modernism to the growth of museums and memorial culture. In doing so, he extends his characteristic method of defamiliarization to transform the way we look at works of art and artistic movements. His bold and original approach leads us away from the well-trodden paths of conventional art history to develop a theory of aesthetics which rejects strict categorization, emphasizing instead the crucial importance of individual subjectivity as a counter to the latent dangers of collective culture. This sustained reflection, at once playful, serious and provocative, goes to the very heart of Sloterdijk’s enduring philosophical preoccupation with the aesthetic. It will be essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy and aesthetics and will appeal to anyone interested in culture and the arts more generally.
Contents I. WORLD OF SOUND La musique retrouvee Remembrance of Beautiful Politics Where Are We When We Hear Music? II. IN THE LIGHT Clearing and Illumination. Notes on the Metaphysics, Mysticism and Politics of Light Illumination in the Black Box: On the History of Opacity III. DESIGN The Right Tool for Power: Observations on Design as the Modernization of Competence On the Charisma of Symbols For a Philosophy of Play IV. CITY AND ARCHITECTURE The City and its Negation: An Outline of Negative Political Theory. Architects Do Nothing But ?Inside Theory?: Peter Sloterdijk in conversation with Sabine Kraft and Nikolaus Kuhnert For a Participatory Architecture - Notes on the Art of Daniel Libeskind with reference to Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul Valery V. CONDITIO HUMANA Essay on the Life of the Artist: Heretics *Wastrels* Falls/Cases* Inhabitants Confessions of a Loser Minima Cosmetica - An Essay on Self-Aggrandizement. VI. MUSEUM The Museum ? School of Disconcertment World Museum and World?s Fair VII. ART SYSTEM ?I tell you: one must still have chaos in oneself? Art is folding into itself Emissaries of Violence - On the Metaphysics of Action Cinema Good-For-Nothing Returns Home or The End of an Alibi - and A Theory of the End of Art Afterword by Peter Weibel: Sloterdijk and the Question of Aesthetics Notes Publication Sources
"The Aesthetic Imperative crystalizes and intensifies the already formidable force of Sloterdijk's corpus. By working through the history of philosophy we discover that the bourgeois subject's capacity to discern the beautiful is at once an art of self-formation and a beautiful form of the self. This is not one more book on the relation between art and politics: it redefines the polity as a singular account of a beauty beyond art, and redefines the aesthetic by way of a subjectivity that is on its way to being political." Claire Colebrook, Penn State University
Peter Sloterdijk is Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Karlsruhe School of Design.
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