We often speak of aesthetic spaces of experience in the context of artistically created spatial situations whose aim is to facilitate aesthetic experiences that fall outside the traditional limits of a particular genre. Such aesthetic spaces of experience may be concrete configurations of physical space, or spaces that arise in the imagination: an art exhibition that operates with the dramatic means of film or theatre performance, for example, or a sound installation that uses music to manipulate the how and the when of our perception of space, or the scenes of a novel whose literary form reflects a certain architecture.
The object of the conference was to scrutinize the concept of the aesthetic space of experience in terms of its scope and viability for academic research and artistic practice. On the basis of concrete artistic works, we investigated the means with which aesthetic spaces of experience are created and evoked and the effects they are potentially able to produce. We thereby took into account the fact that aesthetic spaces of experience are, as a rule, tied to institutional framework conditions that determine their aesthetic production and reception.
The concept of the aesthetic space of experience – thus the premise of the conference – is particularly productive where it draws our attention to the area of tension that exists between co-ordinates and modes of action traditionally often viewed as polar opposites: for example between sensual experience and reflection, between reality and illusion, between presence and representation, and between distancing and immersion. In this sense, aesthetic spaces of experience are always determined in multiple ways; they evoke different types of space that overlap or compete with one another, and whose relevance emerges in their reciprocal relationship.
The discussion therefore focused on the interstices that arise at this juncture and in which supposedly contradictory elements meet and at the same time dissolve their own limits. The aim of the conference was to shape the concept of the aesthetic space of experience as an expression of the complexity that characterizes both the dissolution of artistic limits and the social environment to which the art works in question relate, and thus to establish it as a fruitful link and point of intersection for contemporary discourses amongst artists, art critics and scholars.
Ari Benjamin Meyers
Helga de la Motte-Haber
Birgit Mersmann et al
SFB 626 ‘Ästhetische Erfahrung im Zeichen der Entgrenzung der Künste’, in collaboration with the ICI Berlin
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