Aesthetic Experience by Proxy: Science Description and Science Fiction in New Art Practices

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Session Title:

  • Interactive Text

Presentation Title:

  • Aesthetic Experience by Proxy: Science Description and Science Fiction in New Art Practices

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Abstract:

  • (Long paper)

    Keywords: Aesthetic experience, paratext, bio-art, new media art, science, conceptual art, fiction, narration.

    The claim of the paper is that in many cases new artforms that make use of new, advanced science and technology, paradoxically, prompt aesthetic experience by means of simple text. The paper investigates the difference between the technical media of, for instance, works of bio-art, and the concrete material that the audience of such works encounter in the gallery. In relation to new artforms, the ‘simple’ paratextual descriptions of the works’ technical media take on a significantly different role compared to the paratexts accompanying traditional artforms. While the paratexts’ primary purpose is one of simply conveying information on the works’ technical media (such as DNAmaterial, brain cells, digital software etc.), which are often hidden from the human sensory apparatus, in reality the paratexts simultaneously take on a second, but more important function: that of being the prime catalyst of aesthetic experience – thus substituting the work itself. The paper analyses the mechanisms of this new role of the paratexts accompanying scientifically advanced art and concludes that an important component is the conceptual character of allographic, informational paratexts. Curiously, this conceptual character is also a key feature of the advanced science at work in the new artforms.

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