Number 4 – 2017

Topic of the Issue: "THE AESTHETICAL"

Issue editor: Ivanka Stapova

CONTENTS & Abstracts & Keywords

Ivan Stefanov – The Problem of “Worn Out” Aesthetics
: The article examines Adorno's view that philosophical aesthetics is lagging behind the progress of the avant-garde. Thus, traditional aesthetics is becoming obsolete and turning into an anachronistic theoretical activity. Seeking a solution to this crisis situation, aesthetics strives to find adequate theoretical ideas – paradigms – able to competently summarize the results of creative art. Contemporary aesthetics is turning into an interpretative science that works with various philosophical paradigms.
Keywords: Theodor Adorno; Benedetto Croce; philosophical aesthetics; beauty; ugliness; aesthetic norm; definition of art; paradigm

Peter Tzanev – Contemporary Art and the Idea of Visual Immortality Abstract: The idea of “the human soul” is usually seen as a proto-psychological concept, and not as a basic aesthetic category. From the perspective of psychology, we find it quite natural that the idea of the soul is destined to die with the demise of the idea of immortality. In art, however, in the modern era, the idea of immortality remains fundamental. The modern idea of art is built on the idea of visual immortality. It can speculate that art is a historically variable concept which functions as a substitute term for visual immortality of the soul. In the 20th century, the conversion of the soul into a complex image of human inner mental life led to a radical change in the attitudes, expressed in the visual arts, towards immortality. The demand for a new unifying center that replaces the notion of soul is driving modern and contemporary art to visualize new ideas regarding modern man's personality structure and distinct types of consciousness.Keywords: contemporary art; representations of the soul in art;visual immortality

Lachezar Antonov – Art as an Instrument of Social Criticism: The Communicative Rationality Response to the Thesis of Aesthetic Autonomy Abstract: This text discusses the progressive autonomization of art in the modern era and the treatment of this topic in two short, but significant, papers by Jurgen Habermas dating from the early 1980s, in which he sharply criticized the idea regarding absolute detachment of the aesthetic sphere from the communicative practices of everyday life and the contexts of the life world. Reconstructing the basic views of Habermas on this topic by way of a virtual dialogue with Theodor Adorno's aesthetic theory, this text mutually counterposes two of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century, who belonging to different generations but to the same school of though, in which the theme of art, and its socio-critical functions, has always held a special place, even when it has been approached indirectly, i. e., in the context of other topics.
Keywords: autonomy of art; aesthetic experience; critical theory; Jurgen Habermas; Theodor Adorno.

Ivan Popov – On the Romantic in Science and Romantic Science
: The text reconstructs the emergence and development of so-called “theory” in the humanities, which, since the 1970s, has aimed at redefining their scope and social role. This phenomenon first took root in France but reached other territories, including Bulgaria, for reasons that are explored in the article. The author analyzes the rhetoric of “classical” theoretic approaches, and asserts that in this particular case, method is of greater significance than the object of reflection. The overall effect of theory is identified as a particular kind of legitimization of academic discourse through practices and techniques stemming from modern art. The text deals with the history of modern views on art and analyzes the rhetorical mechanisms of secondary construction of the object of scientific research – a procedure that imparts aesthetic features to the practice of theory and enables a comparison to cultural anthropology. At the end, the author discusses the reasons for the impossibility of achieving a synthesis between science, art and life, this unity being the actual goal of “romantic” science.
Keywords: theory; aestheticization of life; Romanticism; cultural anthropology; sociology of knowledge.
Friedrich W. J. Schelling – From Lectures on the Method of Academic Study, translated by Gencho Donchev
: Around the year 1802, when he was reading his famous Lectures on the Method of Academic Study, Schelling, merely 27 years old at the time, had already parted definitely with Fichte's philosophy and elaborated his own identity philosophy. These lectures contain no didactic guidance for teachers but address students, showing them how, in studying the sciences, not to remain at the level of empirical knowledge but to rise to the height of true philosophical thinking, such as he saw displayed in his own philosophy. That is why he proceeds (in his first lecture) from the absolute concept of science but immediately passes (in the second) to the scientific and moral significance of the higher academic institutions as centers for the education of society. Throughout the discussion on the separate sciences, the prevailing idea advanced was of their identity and of the freedom of science; this idea became a basis of the university reform undertaken in Germany by Wilhelm von Humboldt.
Keywords: method; the study of sciences; empiricism; factography; philosophy.

George Herbert Mead – The Nature of Aesthetic Experience
: The main topic of the article is the practical and pragmatic coinciding, on the one hand, of the world of physical objects and on the other, of the world of contact and meaning that one finds in the surrounding physical reality. In this context, aesthetic experience is seen as a fundamental link which lends unity and homogeneity to every human experience and activity, whether collective or individual, through joy, pleasure, delight, the aesthetic attitude, the discovery of meaning and values that complement the purely “technical” element in experience. The very nature of aesthetic experience is rooted in reveries, vague yearnings – but whether these will add the aesthetic final touch to experience, or will remain at the level of the fragmentary and private sphere, unsharable and impossible to co-experience with society, depends entirely on how they are applied in everyday life.
Keywords: Mead; Dewey; aesthetic experience; reverie; values; pleasure; aesthetic end; shared experience.
Sylvia Borissova – Mythology of the Beautiful as a Mythology of the Identical
: The main aim of the article is to depict the mythology of the beautiful through the search for the human identical – beyond the relative mythologies (Losev), the identities of culture and the social roles that everyone plays alone while seeking a community, be it real or only in mente. For this purpose, the intersection points/items of the mythology of the beautiful and the mythology of the identical will be explicated:
1) in the myth-creating impulse of art as a striving to “capture what fleets away, not what remains” (Adorno), and to justify existence through some coherent whole, however contingent and unexpressible in discourse it might be;
2) в общия хоризонт, „задния фон“ (Лосев) на идеята за падението и изгубения рай (цялост), удържащ по еднакъв начин митологията и изкуството като пазещи неизбежен теогонизъм в работата по улавяне на отлитащото и скоропреходното; in the common horizon, “the background”, of the idea of the fall and paradise lost (wholeness), which embraces mythology and art in the same way, as preservers of an inevitable theogonism in the activity of capturing the fleeting and the evanescent;
3) in thinking of the possible – the possible identical and consubstantiality: world, life, reality, personality – through myth, art form and symbol as forms of keeping and holding myth;
4) in the essential need for, and at the same time necessary entry of, otherness, in mythology and utopia, totality and beauty; 5) in the place and fate of the beautiful as an image pierced by otherness. In this sense, distinguishing mythology of the beautiful as a mythology of the identical opens up a possibility for entering into dialogue with the problem of the crisis of the identical, introduced by the dialectic of Enlightment, and particularly with negative aesthetics as a mythology of the loss of the beautiful.
Keywords: the beautiful; beauty; the identical; mythology of the beautiful; mythology of the identical; mythology of paradise lost; myth; myth-creative impulse; art form; symbol; thinking of the possible; utopia; totality.

Andrey Leshkov – The Historicity of the Aesthetical?
The article offers a quasi-phenomenological reading of the aesthetic attitude. Inspired by the end of art thesis, while taking into consideration its restatement through Heidegger's "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes", the author proposes an approach based on the notions of secularization and resacralization. This approach seems relevant enough for interpreting those signs of the times that the modern aesthetic culture of a European art world reveals through its historicity. This makes it possible, on the one hand, to interpret aesthetic theorization as a kind of “heretical theology”, and on the other hand, to construe art within the framework of its relatedness to an extra-confessional worship or even a liturgical practice.
Keywords: aesthetics; artistic presence; Hegel; Heidegger; historicity; secularization.

Petar Plamenov – Exstasy and Trembling, or On the Inner Mobility of the Aesthetical
: What is ecstasy? Can we give a definition of rest, calm, and of soaring, vehement ecstasy? Are we capable of thinking aesthetically through the idea of the mobile and the immobile? Is it correct to say that the aesthetical is a form of ecstasy? The question arises as to what the aesthetical brings us, and from what it sets us free. If all these assumptions are correct, we should change our view of the aesthetic experience.
Do we have the right to interpret the aesthetical experience as a dynamic psychological state that affects the physical level as well? An attempt to reconsider all these possibilities gives unexpected results.
Keywords: ecstasy; trembling; aesthetic; aesthetic experience; body; flesh; spirit; image; Plato; Aristotle; Euripides; Bacchae; Bacchus; dance; dynamics; movement; philosophy of motion; psychology of motion; death and resurrection; phenomenology.

Vyara Popova – Rosalind Krauss: The Interpretation of Beauty as a Vertical Projection
: Kraus offers an alternative to the classical concept of beauty in terms of form and order, by building conceptual binary oppositions, borrowing Batаille's concept of the formless and alternation- distortion as a counterpoint and cancellation of the hierarchic order in which beauty, as a value and ideal, is the highest. And while Krauss likens classical aesthetics and culture to Freudian sublimation and the vertical projection of the beautiful, she sees non-classical aesthetics and culture, focused around the formless, as a de-sublimation and leveling of the cultural and aesthetic image.
Keywords: beauty = form X not beautiful = formless (Bataille); (hierarchic) order X alternation; sublimation (Freud) X desublimation (Krauss); (cultural) vertical X horizontal; culture as an image; as semiosis.

Ivan Kolev – Dynamic Transcendentalism in the Art of the Italian Futurists
: The article examines the basic ideas of the manifestos and aesthetical program of Italian Futurists. The author presents their critique of classical art and classical painting, and their programme for a Futurist art that, under the designation of “transcendental plasticism”, implements Marinetti's idea of “the beauty of speed”.
Keywords: futurism; dynamics; speed; colour; perspective.
Lazar Koprinarov – The Novel and Reading in the Philosophy of Jose Ortega y Gasset: Ad Intra and Ad Extra
: The article presents José Ortega y Gasset's ideas concerning the novel and reading. The analysis is deployed in two directions: ad intra, “inside”, in the context of Ortega's philosophy, and ad extra, “outside”, in the context of alternative views on the novel and reading. In the first part of the article, the author argues that José Ortega y Gasset aestheticizes philosophy, bringing it closer to literature. At the basis of this intensive “approximation” of philosophy and literature, lies Ortega y Gasset's concept of man as “a novelist of himself”. In the second part of the article, comparisons are made between the approach of Ortega y Gasset and that of the Russian formalists with respect to the specificity of the novel. The third section outlines some similarities between Ortega y Gasset's conception of reading as a “spreading of oneself” and Wolfgang Iser's literary anthropology. Both thinkers interpret the need to read as a human need to look at the real world, and on ourselves, as being only one of many possibilities. The revealed similarities are treated as signs of belonging to a common transformation processes in the aesthetics of the twentieth century.
Keywords: José Ortega y Gasset; novel; reading; Russian formalism; Wolfgang Iser; anthropology of literature.

Iskra Tsoneva – East and West: Between the Mythologies of Patricide and Filicide. Orhan Pamuk's New “Red” Book
: The article discusses the paradigm of cultural collision between East and West, artistically articulated in Orhan Pamuk's latest novel, The Red-Haired Woman. The novel is a fictional inquiry into the literary foundations of civilizations, and compares two myths, fundamental respectively for the West and the East – Sophocles' Oedipus Rex (a story of patricide) and Ferdowsi's tale of Rostam and Sohrab (a story of filicide). The article highlights the worthy and courageous message contained in Pamuk's novel.
Keywords: East; West; patricide; filicide; psychoanalysis; schizoanalysis; art analysis.

Ivanka Stapova – The Tragedy of a Portrait and the Drama of a Man (after Oscar Wilde)
: The article is focused on the dramatic relation between a man and his portrait. In Oscar Wilde's novel, the portrait plays a leading and decisive role as the objectification of conscience. In the name of beauty and youth impervious to time, a moral transfer of the human conscience is made. Instead of serving as an essential component in Dorian's life, conscience is translated outside, to the portrait. The drama begins when the portrait begins to live the vice-ridden life of the literary character, while the latter remains eternally young and handsome...
Keywords: beauty; portrait; split personality; Dorian Gray; temptation.
Pravda Spasova – Our Beautiful Future
: What is the contemporary notion of beauty? It seems to have vanished from the discourse of aesthetics with respect to art. However, in everyday life beauty is considered easy to define, especially in advertisement of plastic surgery and fitness and wellness institutions. The article deals with the implications of the development of the idea that beauty and health are obtainable through science and high technology.
Keywords: beauty; art; futurism; high technology; symmetry.

Silvia Petrova – Images of the Exotic in Popular Culture
: The text discusses some current uses of the concept of the exotic through the phenomenon of popular culture and the media. Nowadays, the media are a major channel for the circulation and broadcasting of exotic images. The article's main thesis is that in the construction of the image of the exotic, the connection to the market and the ideology of consumption are brought to the extreme. Despite its apparent opposition to globalization and new technologies, the exotic is presented as a lifestyle that would be impossible outside these trends.
Keywords: exotic; popular culture; media; lifestyle; consumption.

Aleksandar Donev – Hristo and Jeanne-Claude's Performative Aesthetics
: The article attempts to outline the specificity of the art created by Hristo and Jeanne-Claude. The author analyzes the connections and oppositions of their works to the situation in modern art. Their technical strategies are discussed in the context of Walter Benjamin's views on the lost aura of the work of art under the conditions of its technological reproducibility. The author's main aim is to show the performative character of Hristo and Jeanne-Claude's large-scale architectural installations, which actively engage the audience in giving being and meaning to the work.
Keywords: contemporary art; audience; aura (after Walter Benjamin); cinema; performative; dispositif.
Silviay Borisova – Àåsthetikos. Third Annual Conference on Aesthetics in Memory of Prof. Isak Pasi

Nonka Bogomilova – Philosophical but... All Too Human