Immanuel Kant: Aesthetics

Douglas Burnham elucidates Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Kant discussed aesthetic judgement, taste, beauty, claims leading to formalism, aesthetic ideas (leading to conceptualism and to formlessness), aesthetic experience, the sublime, genius and fine art. Also, Kant bridged aesthetics to ethics.

A refresher and/or necessary reading in relation to Duchamp’s Fountain. NSU Art Museum celebrates the centenary of Fountain. Fountain and the stories told about it seem to dramatize Critique of Judgment.

I would separate the valorization of Duchamp from the mythologizing of Fountain.

100.51 B61 no.2

Related – Burnham answers questions via AskPhilosophers.

Julia Kristeva

Thoughts on humanism as an ongoing project questioning the nature of god and of humans, through poetry and science.

On poetic language.

On love generated from maternal space.

More videos and text.

Via Perverts at Cell Projects.

cell project space

John Akomfrah – an interview

Negarra A. Kudumu interviewed John Akomfrah for Art Radar Journal. (29 March 2016)

I’m interested in the fossils, fragments, debris from the past for two reasons: one, the interest is to do with the question of context. These are contested legacies in which the fragment in question has usually been used to speak a certain absolutist truth. “This is England”, for instance, “and England was always white”. Or “This is England and England is mono-cultural” or “This is England and it was a great power, which civilised savages.” You’re aware that when you enter into the debate with the historical record there are, in other words, a set of contested narratives that you’re confronted by. So part of the project is simply to take seriously this question of context, to see in what ways fragments from the past can be commandeered to speak more ambivalently about the present and about how the present became if you like.

But there’s a sort of, for me, a more pressing, personal question because I think generally when you are a figure of a diaspora what that says is that you are in a space in which very few of the monuments that write that place into being acknowledge your presence. There’s no Trafalgar Square for people of colour in this country. The historic fragment in its archival variety becomes paradoxically one’s inheritance, one’s heritage. It’s one of the few spaces where you find things that attest to your presence. So if you look at 17th century England generally the things that attest to there being an African presence in this country at the time will be books or paintings or, very rarely, buildings or towns. So it becomes imperative for the artist, or for the figure who enters into the archive to be aware of the Janus faced nature of the archival past, the residues of the archival past, because they both speak an official memory.

Shakespeare is the English language’s greatest poet but Shakespeare is also, in the Tempest, one of the few texts from that period that hints at this sense that what we understand to be England may well have been forged by an encounter with the Caribbean. Both are important, in a way, to the practice. It’s not that I want to suggest that Shakespeare is just a great white male and he isn’t any good for me, or that he needs to be replaced by something I like. I think he’s that too but there’s other stuff there that one could work with.

So that is generally my interest in the archive. It’s about looking, using it to look at spaces or contexts, using it to look at ways in which one might reinsert a black subject into a narrative in which he or she is assumed to be absent from. And those come with ethical implications. It’s like when you try to put people in something – nations, groups, identities – the question of why you do it is important. And those ethical questions are as important for me as the aesthetic ones.

…another Akomfrah interview, BFI (8 June 2015).

Arnolfini, Bristol.

…of note : Emmanuel Lubezki, cinemaphotographer.

for purposes of aggression as well as for defense

We wear the mask for purposes of aggression as well as for defense, when we are projecting the future and preserving the past. In short, the motives hidden behind the mask are as numerous as the ambiguities the mask conceals.
Ralph Ellison, from “Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke”; 1958.

Between politics and aesthetics

…I blame writers and artists for some of the success of this kind of “public relations” and the resultant degradation of the language… Via Scribd

Author(s): David Levi Strauss and Hakim Bey
Source: BOMB, No. 89 (Fall, 2004), pp. 74-80


Read the article for the context.

Baldwin’s lever

God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, the fire next time!

The Fire Next Time(1963)contains the essays – My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation (Progressive, 1962); Down At The Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind (New Yorker, 1962).

School began to reveal itself, therefore, as a child’s game that one could not win, and boys dropped out of school and went to work. My father wanted me to do the same. I refused, even though I no longer had any illusions about what an education could do for me; I had already encountered too many college-graduate handymen. My friends were now “downtown,” busy, as they put it, “fighting the man.” They began to care less about the way they looked, the way they dressed, the things they did; presently, one found them in twos and threes and fours, in a hallway, sharing a jug of wine or a bottle of whiskey, talking, cursing, fighting, sometimes weeping: lost, and unable to say what it was that oppressed them, except that they knew it was “the man” — the white man. And there seemed to be no way whatever to remove this cloud that stood between them and the sun, between them and love and

life and power, between them and whatever it was that they wanted. One did not have to be very bright to realize how little one could do to change one’s situation; one did not have to be abnormally sensitive to be worn down to a cutting edge by the incessant and gratuitous humiliation and danger one encountered every working day, all day long. The humiliation did not apply merely to working days, or workers; I was thirteen and was crossing Fifth Avenue on my way to the Forty-second Street library, and the cop in the middle of the street muttered as I passed him, “Why don’t you niggers stay uptown where you belong?” When I was ten, and didn’t look, certainly, any older, two policemen amused themselves with me by frisking me, making comic (and terrifying) speculations concerning my ancestry and probable sexual prowess, and for good measure, leaving me flat on my back in one of Harlem’s empty lots. Just before and then during the Second World War, many of my friends fled into the service, all to be changed there, and rarely for the better, many to be ruined, and many to die. Others fled to other states and cities — that is, to other ghettos. Some went on wine or whiskey or the needle, and are still on it. And others, like me, fled into the church.

For the wages of sin were visible everywhere, in

every wine-stained and urine-splashed hallway, in every clanging ambulance bell, in every scar on the faces of the pimps and their whores, in every helpless, newborn baby being brought into this danger, in every knife and pistol fight on the Avenue, and in every disastrous bulletin: a cousin, mother of six, suddenly gone mad, the children parcelled out here and there; an indestructible aunt rewarded for years of hard labor by a slow, agonizing death in a terrible small room; someone’s bright son blown into eternity by his own hand; another turned robber and carried off to jail. It was a summer of dreadful speculations and discoveries, of which these were not the worst. Crime became real, for example — for the first time — not as a possibility but as the possibility. One would never defeat one’s circumstances by working and saving one’s pennies; one would never, by working, acquire that many pennies, and, besides, the social treatment accorded even the most successful Negroes proved that one needed, in order to be free, something more than a bank account. One needed a handle, a lever, a means of inspiring fear[my emphasis]. It was absolutely clear that the police would whip you and take you in as long as they could get away with it, and that everyone else — housewives, taxi-drivers, elevator boys, dishwashers, bartenders, lawyers, judges,

doctors, and grocers — would never, by the operation of any generous human feeling, cease to use you as an outlet for his frustrations and hostilities. Neither civilized reason nor Christian love would cause any of those people to treat you as they presumably wanted to be treated; only the fear of your power to retaliate would cause them to do that, or to seem to do it, which was (and is) good enough.