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Olivier Mathieu – Artistic and Aesthetic Interests

McGill Philosophy Workshop Series

Olivier Mathieu
Artistic and Aesthetic Interests

Why do we engage with artworks? What interests do we pursue? What satisfactions or pleasures do we seek? Answering these questions, if only partially, should help us understand some features of our experiences of artworks. Indeed, if one accepts the Heideggerian idea of what could be called our “projective pre-understandings,” one will find our interests to “essentially” shape, structure, and determine our encounters with art. More contemporary theories, such as David Davies’ Art As Performance, have also shown that the aporia of empirical ontologies of artworks must eventually lead us to accept that our pre-understandings of artworks and of the relevant conventions play a significant, if not essential role in the manifestation of artworks as such.

I want to argue that artistic and aesthetic interests deeply motivate our interactions with art. Through the determination of what those interests mean and structure, it is my opinion that we will be able to account for distinct, yet non-exclusive, features of the being of artworks. One important advantage of thinking about art in relation to those structural interests is that it will allow us to secure a place and a role for the creative processes and the artist’s intentions in our experience, interpretation, and appreciation of artworks.

Monday, March 16 at 12:00 PM in Leacock 927.

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