News

New journal publication

My paper “Representing and Embodying a Peripheral City’s Place in the World” is now published in the illustrious Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology.

In an increasingly globalizing world, the aesthetics of Dubai have become potentially available even for impoverished, peripheral cities such as Belgrade. With the explicit rhetoric of finally achieving a “global profile” for the city, the Serbian government has hired an Emirati company to build a “world city” in a centrally located district of Belgrade. The rationale for the development is explicitly aesthetic, and the high-rises planned articulate the globally recognizable aesthetic vocabulary of superlatives and (generic) modernity. The tall buildings suggest economic growth while forming a façade against which Belgraders play the role of extras. This paper builds on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the body schema as well as James J. Gibson’s notion of affordances and recent contributions to architectural aesthetics that grew from it, to outline an alternative, embodied ideal of urban aesthetics. The paper presupposes that the common world is to be understood as a task to be achieved. The city, understood in its material form, as urbs, as well as in terms of social relations, as civitas, is the place where the common world can potentially be tangibly experienced. Its architecture narrates, but also affords and prohibits social change, and reversely social and political relations influence the making of the material city. The paper argues that a city’s place in the world is not a matter of gaining access to a supposedly pre-existing reality by displaying the right look, but of engaging actively in the making of the common world.

Cover image for Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology

Workshop “The City and the Wild”

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

Collaboration with performers and designer

Currently exploring entanglements with non-human agencies (particularly pigeons!) together with performance artists Jonas Gillman and Seraina Dür, as well as with the designer and ecologist Flurina Gradin.

We are planning a guided tour of the central train station in Zurich during the Otherwise festival at Gessnerallee in Zurich, as well as during my upcoming workshop “The City and the Wild” (more infos coming up!)

Alex King on Aesthetics

What is the broader social and cultural relevance of academic aesthetics? Can it help us make out why a show seems a little flat? Or analyse for instance racial fetishes? What is the aesthetic attitude and how may one take it up? All this and more in an interview with the philosopher Alex King!

Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky

We are celebrating the centenary of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus logico-philosophicus (published 1921) and the bicentenary of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s birth (born 1821).
This video is my tribute to both. I aim to show that there is more that connects these thinkers than accidental numbers. The video is based on Chapter 1 of my book.