O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect

13 Jan 2017

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Louise House

England, United Kingdom


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[SYMPOSIUM] is a monthly free and open-access reading group for artists, curators, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory.


In January 2017 we will be reading The Aesthetics of Affect by Simon O’Sullivan (2001). This discussion will be chaired by Katie Tysoe.

The event is free but due to limited capacity booking is required. Please visit the website for more information, to book and download the shared document.

Simon O’Sullivan is a theorist working at the intersection of contemporary art practice, performance and continental philosophy. The text is one of his first discussions that addresses artistic practice within an emerging and growing field of affect theory – that is an interdisciplinary investigation into what makes up experience and subjectivity. He reignited the debate between materialism and idealism within philosophy, otherwise seen as the debate between matter and mind, and applied this critical debate to the realm of aesthetics. O’Sullivan addresses a philosophically materialist thinking of our connection to the world by way of critiquing representation and art historical narratives. For him, aesthetics holds certain value for how we experience art. By reassigning a function and value to art through affect, it can become a portal to the sensational and perceptive, which, for O’Sullivan acts as an ethical imperative for both our experience with art and the world in which we encounter it.

[SYMPOSIUM] brings together a supportive community of peers who discuss their research interests around specific texts every month. Decision-making is collective and anyone can propose and chair the reading of a text on a selective and voluntary basis.


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