The Avant-Gardes’ Everyday Sensorium: On Tasting and Smelling Modernism

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Session Title:

  • Interart / Intersensorium. On the Interrelation of Media and the Senses

Presentation Title:

  • The Avant-Gardes’ Everyday Sensorium: On Tasting and Smelling Modernism

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Abstract:

  • Panel:  Interart / Intersensorium. On the Interrelation of Media and the Senses

    This paper adds to an increasing trend reinvestigating modernism on the basis of the ‘ordinary’ or the ‘everyday’. However, based on the scholarship of Madalina Diaconu, Yuriko Saito, Caroline Jones, Cecilia Novero, John Roberts, and others, the purpose here, explicitly, is to uncover an everyday aisthetic within avant-garde movements and to highlight and examine those senses, those modes and media of perception that, in a long aesthetic and philosophical tradition, have been marginalized: the senses of taste and smell. While a Western material cultural studies focus detected many inspiring connections between modernism and consumption, corresponding analyses of avant-garde movements and their products have been burdened by an overemphasis on the visual and the auditory.

    Over time, they also hardly questioned the methodological angles by which a certain epistemological tradition of avant-garde scholarship has taken place. This paper, in working with select art products from Futurism (Marinetti’s cookbook), Expressionism (Claire Goll), Surrealism (Guillaume Apollinaire) and a number of lesser known works and artists, emphasizes an intersensory and interarts approach to the avant-gardes and their media. It will show that the question of everyday aesthetics in modernism is invariably intertwined with the cultural habits or ruptures of everyday aisthetics and should inspire explorations into an atmospherically oriented modernism of overlapping life-worlds (Lebenswelten) that remains to be defined.

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