AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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“WE ARE EVERYTHING AND WE ARE NOTHING”: AN INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR AND FILMMAKER JULIE DELPY

What follows is a guest post by Hans Maes (University of Kent) and Katrien Schaubroeck (University of Antwerp).

As part of Routledge’s Philosophers on Film series, Hans Maes and Katrien Schaubroeck are editing a volume on the so-called Before trilogy directed by Richard Linklater: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight: A Philosophical Exploration. The trilogy chronicles the love of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) who first meet up in Before Sunrise (1995), later reconnect in Before Sunset (2004) and finally experience a fall-out in Before Midnight (2013). Not only do the individual films present storylines and dilemmas that invite philosophical discussion, but philosophical conversation itself is at the very heart of the films.

Julie Delpy, who co-wrote the trilogy and was twice nominated for an Academy Award (best adapted screenplay) for Before Sunset and Before Midnight, agreed to be interviewed for the book because, as she explains, she has a soft spot for philosophy. What follows is an excerpt from that interview. The full text will be included in the volume that is scheduled to appear in 2021 and that will contain contributions from Christopher Cowley (University College Dublin), Diane Jeske (University of Iowa), James MacDowell (University of Warwick), Hans Maes (University of Kent), Kalle Puolakka (University of Helsinki), Anna Christina Ribeiro (Texas Tech University), Katrien Schaubroeck (University of Antwerp), Marya Schechtman (University of Illinois), Michael Smith (Princeton University), and Murray Smith (University of Kent).

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Adrian Piper at MoMA

A philosopher and artist is getting lots of recognition lately, culminating in an upcoming solo show at MoMA. Adrian Piper, who received the Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale in 2015, has enjoyed several shows in the past couple of years, and will now have a major exhibition at MoMA, “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016” (March 31 to July 22, 2018), which will then travel to the Hammer Museum in LA (dates being finalized) before going abroad.

From the MoMA press release:

[T]he exhibition, which will be seen in its entirety only at The Museum of Modern Art, will occupy the Museum’s entire sixth floor—the first time that entire level has been devoted to the work of a living artist.

Exciting!

And the MoMA title isn’t just about her art. She has written about Kant’s notion of intuition. And indeed, this isn’t a case where “philosopher” is just tacked on to add some weight to other titles (like all those “artist, model, poet, DJ, and philosopher”s out there now). Piper is hugely research active in philosophy. To get an idea of her philosophical breadth, see some of her work here. She has published on Kant, aesthetics, rationality, race, and non-Western philosophy. According to Wikipedia, Piper was also the first African-American woman to receive tenure in philosophy in the US.

Her conceptual art is centrally concerned with race – with topics like passing as white, exclusion, otherness – as well as issues like sexism, responsibility, and subjectivity. She examines these issues through performance, drawing, collage, installation, and painting.

And for those of you in NYC or nearby who can’t wait until the MoMA solo show can check out her work at the Levy Gorvy Gallery, up until October 21.

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Heidegger Meets Van Gogh: Art, Freedom, and Technology – Free Online IAI Course

Van Gogh, Pair of Shoes, 1886

Van Gogh, Pair of Shoes, 1886

About the Course

Modern philosophers traditionally thought of science as the realm of truth and art as the realm of beauty. And with the industrial revolution, western societies followed suit. Technology became the driving force of history as art became a sphere of entertainment.

In this two-part course, Philosopher Simon Glendinning challenges this conception by outlining Heidegger’s critique of technology whilst arguing that art is the path to freedom.

You will learn about:

  • Heidegger’s critique of modernity and the predominance of technology.
  • The nature and history of scientific rationality.
  • Heidegger’s reading of the work of Vincent Van Gogh.
  • Art’s relationship to truth and freedom.

Through video lectures, questions and suggested reading discover why art remains a true source of wisdom.  Share your ideas and support your learning through our discussion boards and test your knowledge through questions throughout the course.

Requirements

This course is designed for anyone interested in art, technology or the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and requires no prior knowledge. Whether you’re student, artist or you just want to learn more, we welcome you to join this course.

About the Instructor

  • Simon Glendinning

    Simon Glendinning is Professor of European Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Director of the Forum for European Philosophy. His books includeOn Being With Others: Heidegger-Wittgenstein-Derrida (Routledge) and Derrida: A Short Introduction (OUP).

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: Technology and Chains
    Does modern technology lead to increased freedom and power? Or, as Heidegger said, are we increasingly “unfree and chained”?
  • Part Two: Art and Freedom
    Life in the technological age seems to lack real meaning. Glendinning looks to the creative arts as a potential “saving power”.

Fore more information, check out the course’s website: https://iai.tv/iai-academy/courses/info?course=heidegger-meets-van-gogh-art-freedom-and-technology.


To get you excited, check out a 2009 article from Harper’s: Philosopher’s Rumble Over Van Gogh’s Shoes. And if you’re really into it, check out Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s article on Heidegger’s Aesthetics written by Iain Thomson.


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PHILOSOPHER-ARTIST INTERVIEW: THE COUNTERFACTUALS

Philosophers and Musicians “The Counterfactuals” interviewed by Christy Mag Uidhir

The Counterfactuals play an addictive brand of indie jangle-pop, with a signature blend of golden hooks, Americana, and a dose of grit. Their debut album, Minimally Decent People, was released in January 2014, and has been met with acclaim from audiences and critics alike. After hearing one demo, 89.3 FM The Current dubbed the band “must-hear music” and later featured their single “If you go then you go it alone” as their Song of the Day. The Counterfactuals are heading into the studio to record their second album this summer. You can read some of what people have said about the band at The Daily Album, The Current Local Blog, and Tropics of Meta.

Andy Flory (bass) teaches course in American music at Carleton College. He has written extensively about American rhythm and blues and is an expert on the music of Motown. His book, I Hear a Symphony: Listening to the Music of Motown, is forthcoming from The University of Michigan Press. Working directly with Universal Records, Andrew has served as consultant for several recent Motown reissues. He is also co-author of the history of rock textbook What’s that Sound (W.W. Norton).

Jason Decker (guitar, sound engineer) is Assistant Professor of philosophy at Carleton College and interested in epistemology, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and just about any philosophical problem worth its salt. He has published papers in journals such as Synthese, Erkentniss, Analysis, Analytic Philosophy, and Philosophy.

Michael Fuerstein (drums, sax) is Assistant Professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College where he works on issues concerning the social distribution and advancement of knowledge, particularly in political and moral contexts. He has also more recently become interested in the moral aspects of contemporary capitalism, and has been involved with a newly formed “Society for Progress” devoted to bringing together business leaders, business scholars, and philosophers. His work has appeared in venues such as Episteme, The Journal of Political Philosophy, and The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy.

Daniel Groll (vocals, guitar) is an Assistant Professor in the philosophy department at Carleton College and an Affiliate Faculty Member at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota. He works on issues at the intersection of normative ethics, epistemology, and medical ethics and has papers published or forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Analytic Philosophy, Ethics, The Hastings Center Report, Pediatrics, and Philosophy Compass. Continue reading


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Interview with Philosopher-Poet Troy Jollimore

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What follows is an interview with philosopher and poet Troy Jollimore. Troy is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Chico. He is the author of Love’s Vision (Princeton University Press, 2011) and On Loyalty (Routledge, 2012) as well as over a dozen articles in journals including Midwest Studies in PhilosophyCanadian Journal of Philosophy, and American Philosophical Quarterly. He is also the author of two collections of poetry: At Lake Scugog (2011) and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2006. He is a former External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.

Aesthetics for Birds recently featured an interview with poet and critic David Orr, author of Beautiful and Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry. Much of David’s work as a critic aims at demystifying poetry for a modern audience. Of course, philosophical enquiry can be said likewise to aim at the demystification of its subject matter. Given your status as a philosopher-poet (a designation perhaps few other than yourself can genuinely pull off without seeming for all the world a Class-A poseur), in what ways have you found philosophy to help or to hinder the study, practice, or appreciation of poetry (whether in general or more specifically in terms of your own work)?

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Interview with Philosopher-Artist Keith Lehrer (Arizona/Miami)

Keith Lehrer is the Regent’s Professor emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Arizona with an affiliation with the University of Miami (Florida). In addition to his numerous published articles in areas such as epistemology, free will, rational consensus, and Thomas Reid, Keith has also authored several books including Thomas Reid (1989), Theory of Knowledge (1990), and Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy (1997). Keith also has a research interest in aesthetics, with his most recent book being Art, Self and Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2011), and can currently be found bridging the gap between theory and practice as an active painter and performance artist (the website for his paintings can be found here). It is truly an honor to have Keith as part of Aesthetics for Birds’ Philosopher-Artist series.

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Interview with Philosopher-Artist Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins

What follows is an interview of artist and philosopher Carrie Ichikawa Jenkins. Carrie is the Canada Research Chair & Associate Professor in Philosophy at University of British Columbia and the Quarter-Time Chair in Theoretical Philosophy and Professorial Fellow at the Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen. She has published over two dozen journal articles and book chapters on issues in epistemology, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mathematics, and is the author of the 2008 book Grounding Concepts: An Empirical Basis for Arithmetical Knowledge(Oxford).

As if this weren’t enough, Carrie also happens to be a talented vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and member of the musical group 21st Century Monads (website here) along with Syracuse philosophers Ben Bradley, Kris McDaniel, and Hille Paakkunainen. Most of The 21st Century Monads songs are about philosophy in some form or other—e.g., broad philosophical themes (“Death is Bad for a Cow”), philosophical positions (“There Ain’t No Gunk”), the profession of Philosophy (“My Paper Was Rejected Again”), and even philosophers themselves (“Willard van Orman Quine”)—and range from quite clever and funny (“Utilitarian Girlfriend” & “I Ain’t Satisficing”) to touching and poignant (“When Does Composition Occur?” & “The Final Song”). It is an absolute pleasure to feature Carrie as Aesthetics for Birds’ inaugural Philosopher-Artist Interview.

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