Uncomfortable Aesthetics


The relation between aesthetics and nature, broadly construed, appears doubly overdetermined. Firstly by the (now largely abandoned) discussion of the sublime and the lingering phantoms of thinking nature aesthetically in terms of the picturesque, the untouched and the pristine which followed the degradation of the sublime. And secondly, by an intertwined set of artistic practices that have emphasised the attempt to avoid the use of nature as fodder for art (and other material practices). I will attempt to trace this bifurcatory map of nature and aesthetics as it recapitulates the temporal derivation of aesthetics from nature…