CFP: IX Iberian Meeting of Aesthetics: Art and Life

Submission deadline: June 1, 2023

Conference date(s):
October 26, 2023 - October 28, 2023

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Society of Aesthetics and Theory of the Arts, University of Navarra
Pamplona, Spain

Topic areas


Throughout the 20th century, artists and theorists tried to show that art was not separate from life, as it had been developed throughout modernity and consolidated due to the German idealist philosophers and the rise of the museum institution. On the contrary, they argued that art had to do with life or even, in the most extreme cases, was life itself. At the origins of these ideas, we have vitalism, animated by the discoveries of the biological sciences and defended by Nietzsche or Ortega y Gasset. Likewise, authors like Dilthey and Dewey also made efforts to show art as a lived experience. In this way, the horizons of art were expanded.

Among the artists who sought to break down the barriers between art and life, we should undoubtedly highlight the avant-garde artists such as Duchamp, who attacked the idolatrous vision of the artist and the artwork as a fetish, pushing artistic practice to its limits, both conceptual and practical. A paradigmatic example would be his readymade The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass). After working on it for eight years, Duchamp considered it finished when it broke in a move in 1923. It was life itself that concluded the work. One hundred years have passed since then, and even today, we are still wondering about the status of the artist and the work of art. Dadaism was followed by a long trajectory of artists, from the Fluxus movement and Situationism members to those of Street Art, who opposed the institutionalization of art and tried to break with the aesthetic theories that had separated art from life. Nevertheless, the attempt at dissolution and rupture is not without problems. One remains the definition of art, as Danto showed, for if art and life are the same, how can we distinguish them and define art? At the same time, this leads to the question of the role of art in society: is it possible to speak of the critical and transformative role of art in a world governed by the institutionalization of art and cultural policies, as criticized by Adorno to Rancière? What role does the artist play in our contemporary societies?

Alongside the effort of art to return to the realm of life, the rise of contemporary design, which is global and not limited to industry, has managed to cross all barriers. It is no longer only the objects and spaces we inhabit that are designed but also our experiences and behaviors. This crossing of boundaries has long awakened great interest in defining what design is, what everyday life is, and what the aesthetic relationship with the elements of our daily lives implies, as developed by the new movement of Everyday Aesthetics. Specifically, Yuriko Saito has worked extensively on our relationships with our environment, highlighting that the aesthetic relationship cannot overlook the reference to ethics. In doing so, she turns around a part of traditional aesthetics based on individual pleasure to emphasize the importance of paying attention to aesthetic aspects of what is outside of us. These aspects influence our everyday decisions and relationship with the objects, spaces, and people around us. Based on her proposals, we ask: How do aesthetic aspects impact our choices and connections with the world around us?  Can the relationship between ethics and aesthetics change our way of relating to what surrounds us based on care rather than utility? What are the ethical implications of the aestheticization of everyday life, and how can we think about aesthetics in relation to care and responsibility?

However, there are other authors, such as Lipovetsky, who point out the negative consequences of this expansion of design by considering that it brings with it an aestheticization of life and, thus, a commercialization of cities, experiences, and even our image. At the same time, technological development and the expansion of social networks and the metaverse make us question from new perspectives where the limits are between art, design, and life, as well as between reality and fiction. In the face of this constantly changing panorama, how do art and life relate to each other today? How to think about art and life in light of changes in design and technology?


1. Relationship between Art and Life; Life and Art

2. Art as experience and format breaking: performance, theater, music, dance, video art, etc.

3. Expansion of artistic boundaries beyond museums

4. The role of art and the artist in society

5. Institutionalization of art and critical theory

6. Relationship between aesthetics and ethics

7. Everyday Aesthetics and Aesthetics of Care

8. New conceptions of Design: beyond and within utility

9. Art and new technologies

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