Skip to main content

Conceptual labour and object immersion. Philosophy in aesthetics – aesthetics in philosophy

Event Label
Organisational Units
Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Location Address (1)
Schillerplatz 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1010 Vienna
Location Room (1)

The research workshop invites 10 international guests to discuss recent questions concerning the reciprocal permeation of aesthetic and philosophical theory and practice. As part of the FWF research project Mediated Autonomy. Ideal and Reality of Aesthetic Practice.

Aesthetic considerations have always occupied a unique status in philosophy. Be it Plato’s criticism of poets, Baumgarten’s comprehensive account of aisthesis, Kant’s analysis of the judgment of taste, or Adorno’s determination of art as fait sociale – in all these cases, aesthetic considerations oscillate between the status as subordinate to concepts considered of main importance, such as community, perception, reason, or resistance, on the one hand, and an attribution of unique capacities on the other. This workshop addresses this ambivalent status with a focus on the question to what extent the ambivalence is also due to the fact that aesthetic phenomena pose methodological challenges to philosophical theory practice. The understanding of methodology thereby initially installed in a provisional way refers in a quite literal way to the modes of access actualized in philosophy in reflexive and communicative thinking and mediation, i.e.: the how of proceeding in doing philosophy. The challenges posed by the aesthetic are anchored on two sides at once: first, on the side of the phenomena themselves, which, as irreducible empirical events, also evade rationalizing appropriation by theory and critique. Secondly, on the side of philosophy, which as a linguistically and textually mediated self-understanding is itself affected by peculiarities that bring it close to, or even entirely join it with aesthetic dynamics. In their interplay, which is actualized, for example, in the philosophical analysis of aesthetic phenomena between nature, everyday life, and art, both sides produce effects that can affect philosophical theory practice and its explanatory or conceptual claims as a whole as factors of content and method. Here we find a philosophical centering of aesthetic dynamics that far exceeds the assignment to a sub-discipline of aesthetics. The localization and relation of a philosophical standpoint in aesthetic contexts gives rise to a positioning of an aesthetic point of view within philosophical discourse contexts and self-understandings. In order to trace this transgression of intradisciplinary boundaries between a special field of aesthetics and a broader field of philosophical theory practice on the basis of concrete figures of thought, the workshop will focus, among other things, on the following focal points: It is about the question of specific aesthetic approaches and forms of analysis in a tense confrontation with the basic philosophical concepts of knowledge, rationality and judgment, about the determination of concrete media in the course of linking aesthetics and philosophy, the influence of hegemonic orders and the colonial legacy on the interweaving of aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, about queer refractions of the relationship between philosophy and aesthetics, the relationship between art and philosophy, which is also characterized by diametrically opposed claims to interpretative sovereignty, as well as about philosophical possibilities for opening up aesthetic fields of application beyond art. In the course of the joint treatment of these concepts, intersections, explanatory boundaries, and interdisciplinary potentials of transgressions, the planned workshop aims at localizing the phenomenon of the aesthetic not as an ornamental surplus of dry theorizing, as an abstract or utopian ideal, or as an exotic special case of human agency and experience, but as a constitutive element of philosophical activity, which at the same time remains a sting in the conceptual-analytical fabric as an ongoing and inescapable challenge.


Thursday, 04.04.2024

4 – 4:30 pm: Introduction: Judith-Frederike Popp and Sebastian Lederle

4:30 - 7:30 pm: Panel 1: Philosophizing between theory and practice

Anke Haarmann (Hamburg/Amsterdam):
Gedankengänge – Trains of Thought. Über das Wie des Vorgehens – How to go about it.

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky (Bochum/Washington)
Modeling (Queer) Aesthetics and the Art of Critique

Ines Kleesattel (Basel)
Critical Speculation as Situated Aesthetics (with Isabelle Stengers & Saidiya Hartman)

Moderation: Ruth Sonderegger (Vienna)

Friday, 05.04.2024

10 am - 1 pm: Panel 2: Ambivalent relations

Jörg Sternagel (Passau)
›Queer furnishing‹: Performative (re-)orientations in ethics and aesthetics

Jörg Schaub (Essex)
Modern Aesthetics: Philosophy’s Revolutionary Valorisation of Non-Rational Capacities

Michaela Ott (Hamburg)
Dividual film aesthetics

Moderation: TBA

Lunch break: 1 - 2 pm

2 - 4 pm: Panel 3: Knowledge and judgment between philosophy and art

Peter Osbourne (London)
Art Judgments of the Interesting

Marita Tatari (Patras)
Not-knowing how to recognize. On the present relation between philosophy and the arts

Moderation: Johan F. Hartle (Vienna)

Coffee break (4 - 4:30 pm)

Joint discussion (4:30 - 6 pm)
Title: Philosophy in aesthetics – aesthetics in philosophy 

Dinner (7 pm)

Saturday, 06.04.2024

10 - 12 am: Panel 4: Environments as aesthetic borderlands

Madalina Diaconu (Vienna)
Everyday Aesthetics: Ongoing debates and open issues

Maria Muhle (München)
Überlegungen zu einer Milieuästhetik

Moderation: Isabella Schlehaider (Vienna)

Farewell (12 am – 1 pm)

End of the event: 1-2 pm


Marita Tatari is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Patras, Greece. She specializes in continental aesthetics. She earned her PhD at the University of Marc Bloch in Strasbourg with Jean-Luc Nancy and her habilitation at the Ruhr University Bochum. She was visiting Professor of Contemporary Aesthetics at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart and at the Braunschweig University of Art. Among her publications are the books: Kunstwerk als Handlung-Transformationen von Ausstellung und Teilnahme, Fink 2017; Orte des Unermesslichen – Theater nach der Geschichtsteleologie (ed.), diaphanes 2014; Heidegger et Rilke – Interprétation et partage de la poésie, L'Harmattan 2013; Thinking With – Jean-Luc Nancy, diaphanes/ The University of Chicago Press 2023 (ed. with Lindberg and Magun), Hannah Arendt and the Wordliness of the Arts, Metzler, (ed. with Siegmund and Eusterschulte) (forthcoming).

Jörg Sternagel is Privatdozent at the University of Konstanz and Akademischer Rat at the University of Passau. 2021 Visiting Professor for Media Theory/Media Studies at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. 2018–2020 Substitute Professor of Media Theory at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. 2019 Habilitation at the University of Konstanz, Venia Legendi Media Studies. 2016–2020 Research associate in the SNF project Actor & Avatar at the Zurich University of the Arts. Recent publications: ed. with James Tobias and Dieter Mersch, Beyond Mimesis. Aesthetic Experience in Uncanny Valleys. Lanham, ML: Rowman & Littlefield, Performance Philosophy book series, 2023; Ethics of Alterity. Aisthetics of Existence. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, Performance Philosophy book series, 2023.

Jörg Schaub is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Philosophy at the School of Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (PHAIS) at the University of Essex. He studied Philosophy and Aesthetics as well as Theory of Art and Media at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe and Heidelberg University. He received a PhD scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, was a visiting PhD student in Philosophy at Cambridge University, and was awarded his doctoral degree in Philosophy (Dr. phil.) from Goethe-University Frankfurt. Before joining Essex, he was a DAAD-Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at Cambridge University and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex. His research focuses on critical theory, aesthetics, post-Kantian Philosophy (esp. Hegel), as well as social and political philosophy (esp. Honneth and Rawls).

Peter Osborne is Professor of Modern European Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University London. He has held Visiting Professorships in the Philosophy Department at the University of Paris 8 (2012, 2014, 2019), the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm (2015) and Yale University School of Art (2017). From 1983 to 2016 he was an editor of the British journal Radical Philosophy. He has contributed to a wide range of journals and catalogues for art institutions. His books include The Politics of Time: Modernity and Avant-Garde (1995; 2011), Philosophy in Cultural Theory (2000), Conceptual Art (2002), Marx (2004), Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art (2013), The Postconceptual Condition (2018) and Crisis as Form (2022).

Michaela Ott is Professor emerita of Aesthetic Theories at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg, 2005–2022: associated member of the DFG Cluster Africa Multiple at the University of Bayreuth, Research Section 'Arts and Aesthetics'. Main research: post-structuralist philosophy, aesthetics of non-Western art practices, theories of space, theories of affiliation and division, questions of art knowledge, biennial research, (post)colonial issues, art and film in Africa and the Arab world. Recent publications: Kritik des Individuums, Berlin/ Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2021; Decolonial Aesthetics I. Tangled Humanism in the Afro-European Context, ed. with Babacar M. Diop, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2023; Decolonial aesthetics II. Modes of Relating, ed. with Patrick Oloko, Peter Simatei and Clarissa Viercke, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2023.

Maria Muhle is Professor of Philosophy | Aesthetic Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and editor of August Verlag Berlin. She is a member of the DFG Research Training Group Media Anthropology at the Bauhaus University Weimar. Main research interests: Political aesthetics, theories of contemporary art, biopolitics and concepts of life since 1800, theories of milieu. Latest publications: Mimetic Milieus. Annäherungen an eine Milieuästhetik, Paderborn 2023; "'Von der Regierung der Lebenden' – Subjektivierung als Selbstaufgabe", in: Frieder Vogelmann (ed.), Fragmente eines Willens zum Wissen. Michel Foucault's Vorlesungen, 1970–1984, Wiesbaden 2021; Hybride Ökologien (ed. with Susanne Witzgall et al.), Berlin/ Zurich 2020; "Die große Familie der Menschen: Humanist Myths and Tautological Photography", in: Peter Geimer, Katja Müller-Helle (eds.), Das Sichtbare und das Sagbare. Barthes' Mythologie zwischen Text und Bild, Göttingen: 2020. International Workshop

Ines Kleesattel addresses relational practices of critique, situated aesthetics and methodologies of artistic research. She has a background in philosophy, fine arts and cultural studies and, since 2023, has been a professor for Art and Design Education at Basel Academy of Art and Design. Her recent publications have dealt, among other things, with landscaping as a relational and temporal practice (sich verlandschaften. Versuche einer materialistisch relationalen Praxis, forthcoming, co-edited with S. Adorf & L. Süess); queer feminist witchery as critical fabulations (Witchy Wits*** Mit situierten Sinnen und widerspenstigen Wissen, Zeitschrift für Geschlechterforschung und visuelle Kultur 2022); and discussions of the European aesthetics as a situated phenomenon that might become more polyphonic (Polyphone Ästhetik. Eine kritische Situierung, transversal 2019, co-authored with S. Bempeza, R. Sonderegger et al.).

Anke Haarmann works in the fields of philosophy, art and design theory. She is Professor of "Practice and Theory of Research in the Visual Arts" at Leiden University, heads the PhDArts doctoral program there, and also heads the Center for Design Research at HAW Hamburg, She researches epistemic practices, the history of knowledge and artistic research as well as public space and public action, Recent publications: Specology: Zu einer ästhetischen Forschung, Haarmann, Lagaay et al. Hamburg 2023; Die Keimzelle: Transformative Praxen zu einer anderen Stadtgesellschaft, Haarmann & Lemke, Bielefeld 2022; Artistic Research: Zu einer epistemologischen Ästhetik, Bielefeld 2019.

Madalina Diaconu is Privatdozentin at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Vienna, vice-president of the Viennese Society for Intercultural Philosophy and member of the editorial boards of Contemporary Aesthetics, Studia Phaenomenologica and polylog. Journal for Intercultural Philosophy. She authored eleven monographs and (co) edited several books on phenomenology, the aesthetics of touch, smell and taste, urban sensescapes, and environmental ethics. Her main publications in the field of aesthetics are Tasten, Riechen, Schmecken. Eine Ästhetik der anästhesierten Sinne (2005, 2020), Sinnesraum Stadt. Eine multisensorische Anthropologie (2012) and Aesthetics of Weather (forthcoming).

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky is Professor emerita of Media Studies and Gender Studies at Ruhr University Bochum. She was visiting professor at the Centre d'études du vivant, Université Paris VII (2007) as well as at Columbia University (2012, 2017) and Northwestern University (2023) and Senior Fellow at the IKKM Weimar (2013) and Fellow at the DFG Research Training Group Media Anthropology at the Bauhaus University Weimar (2022). She is also an associate member of the ICI Berlin, an external member of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought (Goldsmiths University of London) and spokesperson for the scientific advisory board of the German Historical Museum.