It’s very exciting to share my most recent publication, “Park Aesthetics Between Wilderness Representations and Everyday Affordances”. It appeared in the British Journal of Aesthetics, published by Oxford University Press and one of the top 25% most highly rated journals in philosophy.
Here is the abstract:
Scholars criticize privileging aesthetics over social and ecological considerations in park design. I argue that the real culprit is not aesthetics, but aestheticism. Aestheticism treats aesthetic objects as if they were ontologically distinct from everyday objects. Aestheticism in park design—treating parks like artworks to be admired like paintings—dovetails into treating parks like representations of a romanticized wilderness: of pristine, untouched landscapes. I argue that aestheticism is a means of constructing an ontological distinction between the beholder and the beheld, for landscapes are not truly pristine if they are sullied by human presence. As an alternative, and while drawing on the works of John Dewey and Yuriko Saito, I argue for a continuity between everyday objects and aesthetic objects. I also draw attention to the question of whose every day is privileged and propose to introduce Wittgenstein’s concept of multi-aspectivity in the analysis of everyday affordances.
It’s thrilling and dream-like to be able to boast a book contract with Routledge before I have even written the book. They have offered me a contract based on the introductory chapter to my book Philosophy of the Wild City: Expanding Political Spaces. Very much looking forward to the writing process and hope to finish by mid-2025!
The video of my interdisciplinary workshop The City and the Wild is now up!
I’m very excited to announce my upcoming interdisciplinary workshop “The City and the Wild”, in collaboration with the Collegium Helveticum.
There will be keynote lectures by Jonathan Wolff (Oxford), Harini Nagendra (Bangalore), Annabel Brett (Cambridge), as well as numerous exciting inputs from researchers and artists like Sanna Lehtinen, Jonas Gillmann, Seraina Dür, Nitin Bathla etc.
Image by Imperial boy 帝國少年 cc by-nc-nd 4.0
Many of us are dreaming of a garden in these pandemic times. But why is this so? What makes us desire gardens and why do we garden at all? My newest video discusses just this.
Have you ever attended a 24 hours long conference? One of the perks of the current tragic crisis is that this is now possible (I call it a perk because I love conferences; you might think it’s a curse). I have just attended a 24hrs conference on philosophy of the city. It was kicked off by our colleagues in Japan and closed by our friends in the Americas. My own presentation was on transcultural perspectives on the city and the wild, with a focus on Indian cities.
I was extremely fortunate to have been able to take part in the Human-Technology Relations conference last weekend. What was most mind-blowing was the keynote lecture given by Prof. Ashley Shew (Virginia Tech). She talked about human-technology relations from the perspective of a technologically enabled disabled person (Prof. Shew’s lower leg has been amputated and she relies on wheelchairs and prosthetics). She dispels many of the common myths around disabled people such as that they spend all their time wishing they could be cured or enabled to walk again – an assumption Shew calls ableism, or that all disabled people should play along in the narrative of being an inspiration for perseverance and high achievement for the non-disabled.
Shew identifies as a cyborg. She draws attention to the fact that it is precisely the disabled who have immense experience with the interface between the human and the technologicized, since they deal with it in almost every moment of their life. Ironically, their perspective is almost never included in these discussions!
My contribution was on the way the city as a technology mediates to the wild. Both notions of the city (as the locus of the civilised) and the wild are historically shifting and constructed with various ends in mind and therefore require careful reflection. A video of my presentation is available here.