(Towards a critique of) Aesthetics as a byproduct of colonial capitalism (Stream B)

The main objective of this workshop is to develop analyses and critiques of the modern discourse on aesthetics that is built on Western models and patterns of superior taste. These patterns emerged in tandem with capitalism and, to a large extent, served the purpose of debasing lower classes as well as colonial subjects.

The first accounts of validations and devaluation of what is proper, desirable and a pleasure to the senses undeniably predate colonialism. However, during the time of colonial capitalism the development of the dominant way of categorizing what exists and lives on the planet, sedimented a colonial difference through the modern narratives of knowledge and aesthetic truth. These narratives are based on scientific and rational processes that were and are said to be the exclusive property of ‘developed’ people.

From this follows the necessity of a decolonization of processes of subjectivation in relation to aesthetics as the system which values what is good and beautiful, and, thus, worth of admiration and representation. To put it differently, decolonization is a necessary road in order to work towards subjectivities that are grounded in self-validation and, what is more, solidary co-validation. This is vital for the foundation of political projects as well as of struggles that demand equality.

Imayna Caceres (Lima, Peru) ist bildende Künstlerin, antikoloniale Aktivistin und Kuratorin. Ihre Arbeit reflektiert die Auswirkungen des Kolonialismus, die Notwendigkeit multidimensionaler Wissensvermittlung und verbindet Kunst mit der Rekonfiguration eines neuen Bewusstseins.

Ruth Sonderegger ist Professorin für Philosophie und ästhetische Theorie an der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: kritische Theorien, Cultural Studies, Macht und Herrschaft der Ästhetik im kolonialen Kapitalismus, Widerstandsforschung.

Sprache/language: The WS is held in English but conversations and comments in German are welcome, too.