Æstetisering | Aestheticization

Volume 19 December 2019

Redaktører | Issue editors

Peter Allingham, Aalborg Universitet
Gorm Larsen, Aalborg Universitet
Henriette Thune, Universitetet i Stavanger

Æstetisering | Aestheticization

Traditionally, aesthetics is related to high culture and attached to certain experientials domains. However, within recent decades a departure from the Kantian aesthetic judgement of taste has taken place, in which not least a number of German philosophers and sociologists have aimed at developing a new aesthetics that addresses sense phenomena – such as atmosphere and affect. This project is also critical of tendencies in ‘aesthetic capitalism’ (Böhme 2016). It is a matter of aestheticization permeating everyday life, so that today it increasingly affects both public and private life.

This issue of Academic Quarter aimes at identifying several facets of aestheticization. After the introduction – that follows the development from classic aesthetics to aestheticization of today – the first perspective focuses the social, political, and identity psychological aspects of the tendency towards aestheticization or, if you like, social psychological aspects of aestheticization. Three contributions fall within this scope. Henrik Kaare Nielsen, ”Forms of Aestheticization in Politics” (“Æstetiseringsformer i politik”), Bent Fausing, (The Dynamics of Aestheticization. Walter Benjamin’s theory of Aestheticization” (”Æstetiseringens dynamik. Walter Benjamins teori om æstetisering”), and Carsten Friberg, ”Identity and Aestheticization”, (”Identitet og æstetisering”). In continuation of these contributions, in terms of content, Erik Svendsen discusses Poul Henningsen’s conception of aesthetics in a light of aestheticization, “Art as Basis. Poul Henningsen’s paradoxical Concept of Culture”, (”Kunsten som basis. Poul Henningsen paradoksale kulturbegreb”). The second perspective presents a sample of phenomena that reflects aestheticization, from chappism to the application of darkness, and finally to the staging of “Nordicness” in current magazines. Contributions are Jørgen Riber Christensen, ”The Situationist Commodified Aestheticization of the Chap”, Julie Bouchet and Rasmus Grøn, ”The Enchanting Aesthetics of Darkness – on the Framing of Darkness as an Experiential Phenomenon.”, (“Mørkets fortryllende æstetik – om framing af mørket som oplevelsesfænomen”), and , finally, Lars Pynt Andersen, ”The Aestheticization of Place, Politics and Products: Selling ‘The Nordic Way of Life’”.

The third and final perspective has two items that both focus on aesthetic devices applied for purposes of aestheticization. The first is Iben Bredahl Jessen’s social semiotic analysis of Nespresso’s Danish website, ”Autheticity and Enchantment – on Forms of Aestheticization of Coffe”, (”Autenticitet og fortryllelse – om kaffens æstetiseringsformer”). The second and concluding item is Christian Jantzen’s exemplary application of Roman Jakobson’s aesthetic function, “Nothing New under the Sun. Strategies for Everyday Aesthetic Curating Practises”, (”Intet nyt under solen. Strategier for hverdagsæstetiske kurateringspraksisser”).

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Æstetik og æstetisering
En introduktion
Peter Allingham og Gorm Larsen

Keywords : Aestheticization, aesthetics and cognitive processes, aesthetic economy, singularity, atmosphere

In this issue of Academic Quarter we present a number of different perspectives on the subject of Aestheticization. Our aim is that the present introduction may serve as a suitable frame of reference to the contributions. In order to obtain this, we have chosen a historical structure that takes its point of departure in the rise of philosophical aesthetics during early modernity, from Baumgarten, Kant to Hegel. The contributions of these philosophers on cognitive processes, the beauty of art and nature reflect the development of the modern individualistic subject and the rise of a modern bourgeois culture of education and good manners. In a further perspective, it seems that an emerging late modern culture is developing that breaks away from positions within classic philosophical aesthetics. Resent works of current philosophers and sociologists, among them Wolfgang Welsch, Gernot Böhme and Andreas Reckwitz point to the rise of an aesthetic economy that has given rise to a culture of singularity. I.e. a culture, where an academic middle-class, well-educated within new digital media, has adopted a life style where professional and personal success depends on your ability to stage yourself and your life successfully with unique objects and features. This has led to a general pursuit for culturally authentic objects, and therefore an increasing aestheticization of the world outside the world of art.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3636

Æstetiseringsformer i politik
Henrik Kaare Nielsen

Keywords : Aestheticisation, discursive intervention, political judgement, identity politics, recognition

The article analyses different forms of aestheticisation in the field of political practice. It takes its point of departure in a theoretical elaboration of the concept of aestheticisation, specifically with regard to which status it can reasonably be granted in late modern society. With the concepts of differentiation and discursive intervention as overall frame of reference, the article offers a critical analysis of two prominent types of aestheticisation in contemporary political life: the use of aesthetic appeals by established politicians and mass media, and the role that aesthetic symbols and artefacts play in the practices of identity-political movements. Finally, an alternative approach to integrating aesthetic and political discourse is briefly suggested.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3619

Æstetiseringens dynamik
Walter Benjamins teori om æstetisering
Bent Fausing

Keywords : Walter Benjamin, passage, commodity aesthetics, metropolis, modernity

The industrialization produces a veil in its aestheticization, and in this veil lies a criticism and heterotopia in its images of dreams. This is the dynamic duality in Walter Benjamin’s incomplete project, ‘Paris, Capital of the Ninetieth Century’. Benjamin deals especially with the passages. They are new architectural phenomena that connect streets through alleyways with shops. Passage has a more spacious meaning, pointing to the way Benjamin reads the metropolis. Passage means in Benjamin’s optics threshold or transition, namely between I and things, awakening and dream, potential and realization. ‘I and things’ are essential, when it comes to exhibitions of commodity, where things are made personal and particular. This personification or anthropomorphization plays a crucial role in Benjamin’s analysis of the metropolitan aesthetics. The article seeks to answer why and how Benjamin sought this path in his mapping of modernity’s aestheticization and finally how it manifests itself in relation to Benjamin’s theory during the National Socialism’s aesthetics of politics and later in the digital passages of late modernity as commodity aesthetics driven by algorithms.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3620

Identitet og æstetisering
Carsten Friberg

Keywords : Æstetisering, kulturindustri, dannelse, kritik, krop

Identity is related to aesthetics as a discipline for forming individuals. However, difficulties arise as to whether identity concerns the person present or a true and authentic person behind the appearance; whether it is the spiritual or the bodily presence. Aesthetics related to the sensorial and bodily faculties is about how cultural formations exercise an influence on us. Aesthetics applied to cultural formation is discussed as aestheticization. Gernot Böhme suggests with his critique of aesthetic economy that today aestheticization should not be seen as a superficial beautification of the environment, but rather as a reality for individualsused to form and present one’s identity. What could appear as an acceptance of the spurious surface should rather, with inclusion of Mario Perniola, be considered a different approach enabling a sensitive critique rather than a dogmatic rejection.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3621

Kunsten som basis
Poul Henningsens paradoksale kulturbegreb
Erik Svendsen

Keywords : Walter Benjamin, passage, commodity aesthetics, metropolis, modernity

Poul Henningsen is part of the Danish canon. The lampoon Hvad med kulturen? (What about culture? 1933) Poul Henningsen is part of the Danish canon. The lampoon Hvad med kulturen? (What about culture? 1933) is his chief work and it highlights many of the crucial thoughts in the architect’s, the writer’s and the song writer’s production. However, the title of the intense little book is misleading, as the polemic text rather deals with art, and how the contemporary form experimental art (for example cubism) should be a guiding principle for a progressive culture policy. A point of the article is that What about culture? has far from mellowed. In that way the book and PH are a concise expression of the political and societal tensions that dominant in the 1930s. is his chief work and it highlights many of the crucial thoughts in the architect’s, the writer’s and the song writer’s production. However, the title of the intense little book is misleading, as the polemic text rather deals with art, and how the contemporary form experimental art (for example cubism) should be a guiding principle for a progressive culture policy. A point of the article is that What about culture? has far from mellowed. In that way the book and PH are a concise expression of the political and societal tensions that dominant in the 1930s.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3622

The Commodified Aestheticization of the Chap
Jørgen Riber Christensen

Keywords : Chap, gentleman, male identities, aestheticization, subcultures

The article critically addresses the contemporary British chap movement and its manifestations by contextualizing it in the cultural history of 20th- and 21st-male subcultures. The central point of this movement is an aestheticization of male identity. The movement’s preference for apparels from the Edwardian Period and the 1920s will be analysed in the light of theories about nostalgia, which include that nostalgia has radical potentials. The question asked in the article is if and to what extent the chap movement as a subculture is subversive and radical. The inherent contradictions of the movement between its subversive potentials and commodification of the gentleman concept have their release in the ironic, but real Chap Olympics event, and in the satirical style of the Chap Magazine and of its book publications. The website of the Chap Magazine is http://thechap.co.uk/.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3623

Mørkets fortryllende æstetik
Om framing af mørket som oplevelsesfænomen
Rasmus Grøn og Julie Bouchet

Keywords : Mørke; æstetisering; fortryllelse; framing; oplevelser.

The topic of the article is the current aestheticization of nocturnal darkness as a domain of experience economy. Here, the article will explore a tension between the framing of nocturnal darkness as an experience product and as a source of enchantment, i.e. of epiphanic experiences of the ‘astronomical sublime’. This conflictual status is theoretically explained through the concept of enchantment and its strong, but ambivalent relationship to the aestheticization of late modern society. During the article, the discussion will be supplemented and illuminated by analyses of how Danish dark sky sites frame natural darkness as a source of knowledge and wonder.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3625

The Aestheticization of Place, Politics and Products
Selling ‘The Nordic Way of Life’
Lars Pynt Andersen

Keywords :Aestheticization of consumption, Nordicness, consumer culture, lifestyle magazines

Aestheticization is a pervasive force in consumer culture (Featherstone 2002); it is central to the invention and reinvention of symbolic resources that structure current market economies (Reckwitz 2017). A recent example with a complex nexus of consumption, identity, politics and nostalgia, is the reinvention of ‘Nordicness’ and ‘The Nordic Lifestyle’, with sub-fields such as (New) Nordic Cuisine, (New) Nordic Design and (New) Nordic Cinema (Leer 2016, Andersen et al. 2019, Skou and Munch 2016). This paper investigates the aestheticization of ‘The Nordic Way of Life’ as commodified and marketed in the form of the magazine Oak - The Nordic Journal.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3626

Autenticitet og æstetisering i branding af kaffe
Iben Bredahl Jessen

Keywords : Autenticitet, branding, kaffe, modalitet, æstetik, æstetisering

The article addresses authenticity and aestheticization in a context of coffee culture and branding. Coffee culture exemplifies an area with an increased focus on authenticity. Knowledge about origin, cultivation methods, processing, and type of coffee have become important dimensions in evaluating the authentic coffee experience and taste of coffee. At the same time, coffee brands strive to present unique and authentic coffee identities. Based on a textual/aesthetic analysis of a sample of images on Nespresso’s Danish website, the article examines the role of aestheticization in branding coffee as authentic. The article demonstrates the social semiotic concept of modality as a perspective to understand the ways in which authenticity and aestheticization are connected.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.v0i19.3624

Intet nyt under solen
Strategier for hverdagsæstetiske kurateringspraksisser
Christian Jantzen

Keywords : Everyday aesthetics, aesthetic strategies, Roman Jakobson, paronomasia, ostranenie

Aestheticization is nothing new under the sun. Potentially, all texts – even instructional ones – may function in an aesthetic way, because aesthetics relate to the expressive dimension of messages and all verbal messages consist of this dimension. The purpose of this article is to use insights from literary studies, more specifically from structuralism, to understand how people curate their own way of life in late modern society. The core question is: Which strategies do people use when aestheticizing their life? And the answer is: Approximately the same strategies as those utilized in aesthetic or aestheticized texts. Such strategies are identified in an analysis of two sentences. The analysis explores the aesthetic principles at work in these sentences and the strategies these principles serve: i.e. embellishment and estrangement. In the concluding discussion, these two strategies are discussed in relation to everyday aesthetics, and a third strategy is identified: aesthetic evolution.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.academicquarter.vi19.4429