The Politics of Abstraction


What is at stake in posing the question of the aesthetic today, in light of shifts in recent philosophy towards both the speculative and the realist? Putting aside entirely legitimate concerns about the validity of such a substantive object as ‘speculative realism’ as school of thought or movement, and considering it instead as a moment or event reorienting thought within contemporary Continental philosophy in light of ideas of speculation on the one hand and realism on the other, how does this in turn recontextualise our understanding of aesthetics? If there is to be a positive upshot to such a conjuncture, it is surely to return us to the problem of representation. Into this mixture I want to throw an additional set of concerns. In essence, this is the question of a speculative aesthetics of the sociopolitical…