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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

wk 02 : [to hell w/] kant

This week the lecture and then seminar were focusing on E. Burke and I. Kant (really, I cannot think about Kant without singing Bruces' Philosophers Song in my head, so: here it is!)

The two texts we have been reading are E. Burke's "Pain and pleasure" in A philosophical enquiry into the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful, and I. Kant's Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime. I am sure you are aware that I am not using a codified Harvard notation for the texts, and I am ok with this because this is my blog. There will be a post designated to bibliography and referencing, and that will be it.

Back to the Sublime!

We have also been asked to watch two videos which I add here:


Again, the questions were: what makes a work of art? and how does aesthetic judgement work? Does art provide us with an answer to what it means being human? Both pieces (which I wasn't aware of) are mainly experiences to be felt (and then reflected upon). There is a physicality in them. If we think about the concept of the Sublime, which is how we encounter Nature, and experience pleasure (and pain) and try to make sense of all the existential questions of why are we here, and how small are we when compared to the Cosmos, and where we touch fear we are then reminded of our place, and time. Of why we are here. Kant asks us to consider our sense of self-consciousness by being both determinative as Plato and reflective. What does this (self) reflective process do in us? Does it provoke anything?


I am left wondering if this Sublime is a concept only close to us of the West since existentially populations for the East and South of the world tend to see life differently. Do they have a pictorial representation of the Sublime which differs from ours?

And then: if I place a distance (whether that being time or space) between me and something happening, or observing, or even a powerful work of art, can I be more objective? or detached? I am left questioning if I am thinking, albeit subconsciously, to all of this when I am making stuff, or when I am creating? How was the process when I did CONSERVATION? And what about LEGACY? and BEFORE NOTHING? I am thinking about the space, as used in curating Tracey Emin's My Bed or Marina Abramovitch in her The Artist is Present and when she decides to remove the table: is she creating a different kind of distance by removing something? Is that natural distance between two people observing each other?

I am glad I have discovered R Smithson and his Spiral Jetty. I could not understand "the piece" at the very beginning but then it all made sense: the concept of space, time, submerging, the work which is not just the work but the planning and processing, and making, and videoing, and editing the video; his death and his relationship with art and nature. And his connection with Rothko who still is one of my favourites. I am glad because even if I found Burke and Kant (more than anything) boring to read, they allowed me to explore and understand Rothko more and to see the philosophical workings behind his pieces. All of which I am extremely pleased!


I had two very interesting tutorials: one with HT in which we discussed more in-depth my potential progression and also by checking in on how I am doing; the other one was with VC which delivered the lecture: I discussed also with her my idea of the progression, my plans for the future and of course I have been given more things to think about in terms of artists, concepts, ideas...

I think I start to feel I might have a place I belong to.

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