Octavian Ion and I will be presenting our paper titled “Apt Perception, Aesthetic Engagement, and Installation Art” at the “Space, Site, Installation” Conference to be held in Padova on March 23-25. The conference is organized by Elisa Caldarola (University of Padova) and Gabriele Tomasi (University of Padova). The conference program looks amazing!
Our talk is scheduled for 17:15 pm on March 24th. Here is the abstract:
In this paper we apply the account Susanna Siegel develops in The Rationality of Perception to aesthetic cases and explore the implications of such an account for aesthetic engagement as well as curatorial and exhibitionary practices. We contend that one’s prior outlook – expertise, beliefs, desires, fears, preferences – can have both aesthetically good and bad influences on perceptual experiences, just as it can have both epistemically good and bad influences. Analyzing these bad influences in cases of “hijacked” aesthetic perception will reveal that, unless we recognize that our perception of high-level and low-level aesthetically relevant properties is not beyond reproach, we will be at a loss to explain what goes wrong in these cases. We argue that, just as perception can be rational or irrational, so too can it be apt or inapt. We explore the merits of the aptness of perception thesis for reconceptualizing aesthetic engagement in more pluralist terms and show how such reconceptualization allows us to make sense of our engagement with installation art. We end by discussing some practical implications this kind of account of aesthetic engagement might have for curatorial and exhibitionary practices.
One of the examples we talk about is the 2019 Mickalene Thomas exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Hence the photograph.