On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary by Lutz Koepnick

By Lutz Koepnick

Velocity is an seen part of up to date society, while slowness has frequently been disregarded as conservative and antimodern. not easy a protracted culture of inspiration, Lutz Koepnick in its place proposes we comprehend slowness as a method of the contemporary--a decidedly smooth perform that gazes firmly at and into the present's velocity.
As he engages with past due 20th- and early twenty-first-century artwork, images, video, movie, and literature, Koepnick explores slowness as a severe medium to accentuate our temporal and spatial reviews. Slowness is helping us check in the a number of layers of time, historical past, and movement that represent our current. It deals a well timed (and premature) mode of aesthetic notion and illustration that emphasizes the openness of the long run and undermines any belief of the current as an insignificant replay of the prior. Discussing the images and paintings of Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Michael Wesely; the flicks of Peter Weir and Tom Tykwer; the video installations of Douglas Gordon, Willie Doherty, and invoice Viola; and the fiction of Don DeLillo, Koepnick indicates how slowness can carve out areas inside of strategies of acceleration that let us to mirror on exchange temporalities and intervals.

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Extra resources for On Slowness: Toward an Aesthetic of the Contemporary (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)

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Conflating, as Lukács did, art’s law or principle of form (sedimented content) with an apolitical formalist art and pure aestheticism (l’art pour l’art) must be rejected out of hand. Aesthetics is not a form of ‘prescribed realism,’ and art does not limp after reality (AT 237). Lukács’s historical and hysterical caricaturisation of Adorno’s aesthetic theory of art’s autonomy – that is, the prevalent view: messages in a bottle = political quietism – however, shows no signs of abating. For, as Bernstein argues: Adorno’s apparently uncompromising defence of modernist art and his apparently uncompromising critique of mass culture as a product 36 Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory of a ‘culture industry’ has served the proponents of postmodernism as a negative image against which their claims for a democratic transformation of culture may be secured.

For, as Bernstein argues: Adorno’s apparently uncompromising defence of modernist art and his apparently uncompromising critique of mass culture as a product 36 Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory of a ‘culture industry’ has served the proponents of postmodernism as a negative image against which their claims for a democratic transformation of culture may be secured. 23 The grand master of flash postmodernism, Jean-François Lyotard, indulged this fantasy and took up Lukács’s historical challenge, by writing an essay entitled, ‘Adorno as the Devil,’ wherein, according to David Robert’s wild interpretation, ‘Schoenberg becomes for Adorno the Christ who takes the sins of the world upon himself’ (AE 103).

Adorno’s aesthetics continues to have contemporary relevance, as Martin argues: ‘It suggests an ongoing investigation of recent art, not in order to merely affirm it, but to establish whether it is in fact new and not just a parody of the new relying on the authority of tradition’ (AAA 181). Adorno’s grey61 However, Adorno’s aesthetics still has something of a grey reputation in contemporary art and theory. But, reputations are one thing and works and deeds are another. Making the case for the continued relevance of Adorno’s aesthetic theory to contemporary art and theory need not be arduous, for Adorno himself participated in one 16 Adorno and Art: Aesthetic Theory Contra Critical Theory of the more interesting contemporary art festivals: dOCUMENTA.

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