Thursday, April 30, 2009
Apparently one of my high-frequency cluster of lexemes is something that goes like this: 'beauty/aesthetics is never inconsequential.'
As it is the case more often than not, we tend to repeat that which we consider the most and spend much time masticating. Philosophically, the study of aesthetics is as fecund as it could be. But philosophy is not the only discipline where aesthetics enters with a splash. It is also a permanent inhabitant of literature, religion and so forth.
I just recorded two new episodes for both of my podcast series, Gendering the Media and De Amore and in both episodes I mention the concept of beauty from a philosophical as well as literary perspective. Obviously, our understanding of and attitudes towards beauty and aesthetics have shifted dramatically from the times of the Greeks, Romans, St. Augustine, Early Christianity and so on.
In earlier times, aesthetic beauty was code for inner goodness. The more beautiful a person, the better the soul/nature of that person. In this regard, the form was, in many ways, that which clarified the weight/importance of content.
Might I recommend this article from the Times which appears on today's issue?
A paragraph says:
"Are models perhaps the last silent film stars? A preview of “The Model as Muse” suggests they are. A model’s face on a magazine cover may sell fewer issues than that of the latest hot actress, but they are ultimately a lot more compelling to look at and this is because we hardly ever have to hear about their private lives or be burdened with their thoughts.
It cannot be accidental that Kate Moss, the most persuasive contemporary example of a model as an artistic catalyst, has assiduously guarded what she says throughout her career. Ms. Moss is no dummy. She knows that the basic requirement of her particular job is silence. A model is a muse to the precise extent that a model is mute."
Yes, a shift has definitely occurred but one thing is certain: aesthetics is so consequential.