Aesthetics as Phenomenology: The Appearance of Things (Studies in Continental Thought)

Aesthetics as Phenomenology: The Appearance of Things (Studies in Continental Thought)

Günter Figal

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0253015588

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Connecting aesthetic experience with our experience of nature or with other cultural artifacts, Aesthetics as Phenomenology focuses on what art means for cognition, recognition, and affect―how art changes our everyday disposition or behavior. Günter Figal engages in a penetrating analysis of the moment at which, in our contemplation of a work of art, reaction and thought confront each other. For those trained in the visual arts and for more casual viewers, Figal unmasks art as a decentering experience that opens further possibilities for understanding our lives and our world.

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directedness toward something or in the sense of an engaged attentiveness to something.49 The bond between perception and significance can be broken. This usually occurs in quiet, undemanding situations, so in situations that are neither determined by intentions nor interrupted by anything affectively claiming us. Accordingly, they are situations of decreased attention. In these situations, the difference between the given and the merely “cogiven” either pales or disappears entirely; one is not

directedness toward something or in the sense of an engaged attentiveness to something.49 The bond between perception and significance can be broken. This usually occurs in quiet, undemanding situations, so in situations that are neither determined by intentions nor interrupted by anything affectively claiming us. Accordingly, they are situations of decreased attention. In these situations, the difference between the given and the merely “cogiven” either pales or disappears entirely; one is not

occupation with art is no mere distraction, for it demands concentration. It does not serve the purpose of recreation, insofar as the latter is determined by the aim of recuperating one’s capacity for work. The occupation with art is not directed toward the care of one’s own abilities, but instead toward artworks; it is not “relaxation,” but an activity that is effortlessly intent and thus particularly animated. When one feels vivified by the occupation with an artwork, this results on its own

these “absolute dancers.”30 Art Forms 115 Nothing stands in their way; there is nothing but being-moved and movement, such that Valéry can speak of an “ideal of being-moved.”31 Here there is no doing that affects anything; nothing here is univocally active or passive. All that exists is being-moved in the back and forth of movement. If this movement is a dance, and dance as commonly assumed belongs to music, then it is musical; it is musical without tone or tonality. The musical movement

determines the access one has to them. With regard to the showing, the works’ perceivability and readability bear a decisive significance. What this significance is can best be stated in connection with a summarizing observation on the deictic character of artworks, insofar as it is determined by the art forms. The works show in the art forms of which they are a mixture; they allow that which they show to present imagistically, musically, and poetically. As artworks’ showing is not a pointing to

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