XII. International Congress of the German Society of Aesthetics – The Media of Art/The Arts of Media

September 9, 2024 - September 13, 2024
Department of philosophy, University of Fribourg, Switzerland


This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

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  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetik


Université de Fribourg
Université de Fribourg

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So-called 'media art' has been around not only since technical media began to intervene in the art world; there has never been media-free art. There is no art that does not express itself in certain media, be it image, sound, light, space or language. There is no art that does not rely on marble and chisel, colour and canvas, pen and paper, sound waves and screen, bits and bytes. Neither media nor materials are ever external to a work of art; rather, aesthetic meaning only arises through the respective medial-material configuration and would be invalid without it. The XII. Congress of the German Society for Aesthetics will focus on the question of the media of the arts: Can the arts be understood differently or better if we look at them in the light of their media? What distinguishes the arts from one another? Does each art genre have its own medium? What does media specificity mean in the tradition, from Lessing to Greenberg, and what does it mean today, in the age of artistic "entanglement" [Verfransung] (Adorno) and of multiple hybrid forms? Modernist attempts to return art to its pure, illusion-free medium stand in contrast to more recent developments in which intermediality, cross-over and transmedial practices set new standards. Despite all the invocations of a 'post-medial condition', the classic question remains impellent: to what role material qualities play in form-shaping processes and to what extent the different contexts of manifestation influence the circulation of signs.

All DGÄ members are invited to submit proposals on this topic, whether from a historical or contemporary, systematic or applied perspective. Some topics will be the 'obstinacy' of iconic, choreographic, cinematic or architectural artefacts, to name but a few, about the analogue/digital difference, the media prerequisites in the mass production and reproduction of art and about the function of media in dissemination, commentary and archiving, right up to their use in the artistic creative processes themselves, for example in the context of AI-generated art. It will be discussed what consequences this has for classic aesthetic concepts such as originality, authorship or creativity - does AI art even exist and if so, how can it be specified? - to the exorbitant ecological footprint of supposedly dematerialised phenomena such as NFT and crypto art.

In this respect, the focus of the congress is not only on the media in the arts, but also - in a kind of reverse entanglement - on the function of the arts in context of media. If it is true that aesthetic objects, situations and events make it particularly easy to understand that form and content, medium and message cannot be separated from each other, what insights does this provide for media processes in general? What does it mean for the prevailing transparency paradigm of mediality when works increasingly discover the sensual-aesthetic potential of media that no longer make themselves transparent in favour of what is depicted? Do not other, previously unseen sides become recognisable precisely in the design features? If all art is to be regarded as media art in this sense, then it must do so insofar as it works with media in a reflexive and critical way and shows how they work. Art without media is empty, that much is beyond question, but conversely, can it also be said that media without art is blind? The congress provides an opportunity to debate the relevance of aesthetic thinking for mass media societies.

We welcome contributions on the topic of "Media of the Arts / Arts of the Media" from all areas of theoretical and practical aesthetics, from the perspective of individual arts as well as from media studies and art sociology, from artistic research, art education and inter- and transcultural aesthetics.

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Custom tags:

#aesthetics, #media, #DGAE