poliaesthetics: aesthetico-political design

Vaast Colson, “The Anatomy of Modern Leviathan”, the poster for lecture-performance by Denis Maksimov/AVENIR INSTITUTE, Antwerp (BE), 2015

Vaast Colson, “The Anatomy of Modern Leviathan”, the poster for lecture-performance by Denis Maksimov/AVENIR INSTITUTE, Antwerp (BE), 2015

Poliaesthetics is a paradigm originating in the hypothesis of art and politics being a synergic couple of the fundamentally human actions. Philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin spoke about truly valuable art as the kind that emanates ‘aura’, as appearance of some sort of metaphysical force arising from the artwork’s uniqueness. We argue that authentic politics, as the art, emanates the similarly valuable energy as well - which can be called ‘plasma’. Aura-plasmatic constellations of meaning, visual signs, metaphors and other elements form up the socio-political imaginary or the foundations of politics and society, Oecumene or civilisation that we deem important to be passed down to the next generations.

Poliaesthetics develops, collects and critiques transdisciplinary methods of analysis and deconstruction of the visual-conceptual regimes (or aura-plasmatic constellations) of visualisation and visibilisation of the meaning making matrixes, their rules, protocols, ethics, morals, rituals, which are fuelled by the networks of accumulation, distribution and competition for power. The critical awareness of the field was highlighted by Friedrich Nietzsche’s gesture of unmasking the processes of legitimisation of socio-political rituals as foundations of ‘natural’ reality. The role of political and aesthetic theory in legitimisation of the cultural context is juxtapositional. The contemporary rise of the concept of the Curatorial (deriving from ‘curation’ or ‘curating’) resonates with the separation line that Carl Schmitt drew between ‘the Political’ (as domination and the contest for power) and ‘Politics’ (as human relations). The Curatorial (as praxis) stands for a transdisciplinary practice of multidimensional creation, edition and narration of a discourse that involves coordination of the variety of authors, instigators and followers within a wider scope of anthropology, including arts. The processes of convergence between the Curatorial and the Political in building up the visible/registerable ‘real’ construct the complex architecture of contemporary visual culture. Pronounced by theorist Roland Barthes ‘death of authorship’ is seen by us as one of the repercussions of this convergence, that can be interpreted as a gesture towards collaborative nature of sense-making and reality production in general.