Project

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Practices of Aesthetic Thinking

Applicant Mersch Dieter
Number 171055
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Departement Kulturanalysen und Vermittlung Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK
Institution of higher education Zurich University of the Arts - ZHdK
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.03.2017 - 31.08.2021
Approved amount 1'290'287.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
Philosophy
Arts

Keywords (4)

Ästhetisches Denken; Ästhetische Praktiken; Kunst und Wissenschaft; Artistic Research

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Praktiken ästhetischen Denkens Das Sinergia-Projekt Praktiken ästhetischen Denkens, an dem die vier Kunsthochschulen der deutschsprachigen Schweiz, die Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK), die Hochschule der Künste Bern (HKB), die Fachhochschule Nordwest-Schweiz in Basel (FHNW) und die Kunsthochschule Luzern (HSLu) beteiligt sind, beschäftigt sich mit Denkformen in den Künsten, von der Musik über Installation und Videokunst bis zu Film, Theater und Design unter dem Gesichtspunkt ihrer Praktiken.
Lay summary

Das Sinergia Projekt Praktiken ästhetischen Denkens, an dem die vier Kunsthochschulen der deutschsprachigen Schweit, die Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK), die Hochschule der Künste Bern (HKB), die Fachhochschule Nordwest-Schweit Basel (FHNW) und die Hochschule Luzern (HSLU)beteiligt sind, beschäftigt sich mit Denkformen in den Künsten, von der Musik, Bildenden Kungs, über Installation und Videokunst bis zu Film, Theater und Design unter dem Gesichtspunkt ihrer Praktiken.
Untersucht wird die Eigenart des künstlerischen Denkens im Vergleich zu wissenschaftlichem Denken und Forschen. Gleichzeitig wird durch die Fokussierung auf Denkpraktiken versucht, die in den letzten Jahrzehnten geführte Debatte um ‚Artistic Research‘ zu vertiefen, indem nach den philosophischen und ästhetischen Grundlagen eines angemessenen Forschungsbegriffs und den Eigenarten künstlerischer Wissens- und Erkenntnisproduktion in den Künsten und durch die Künste gefragt wird.
Die Untersuchungen im Bereich Grundlagenforschung gliedern sich nach den vier Teilprojekten:

  • der Witz der Kunst (ZHdK),
  • das essayistische Prinzip (HKB),
  • die ästhetische Praxis der Kritik (FHNW),
  • Radikale Pädagogiken (HSLU).

Das Sinergia-Projekt hat so insgesamt nicht nur zum Ziel, die Arbeitsweise und Denkform der Künste zu verstehen, sondern auch die Konsequenzen für die ästhetische Begriffsarbeit, das Schreiben über Kunst, ihre Kritisierbarkeit und ihre ‚Aus-Bildbarkeit‘ zu ziehen. Es hofft auf diese Weise gleichzeitig, die Frage von Kriterien und Qualitätsgrundsätzen mit Bezug auf die „Forschung“ in den Künsten zumindest neu aufzuwerfen und Vorschläge dazu auszuarbeiten.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 27.02.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Epistemiken des Essayistischen. Zur Praxis Haroun Farokis
SieberAurel (2021), Epistemiken des Essayistischen. Zur Praxis Haroun Farokis, UZH Dissertationen, Zürich.
Manifest der künstlerischen Forschung
MerschDieter (2020), Manifest der künstlerischen Forschung, diaphanes, Zürich.
Der Witz der Kunst / Ver-Zeichnungen
Fliescher Mira, Der Witz der Kunst / Ver-Zeichnungen, diaphanes, Zürich / Berlin.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
David J. Levin United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Gottfried Böhm Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Henk Borghoff Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Jean-Luc Nancy France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Praktiken ästhetischen Denkens 04.04.2019 Basel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Das essayistische Konzept 18.12.2017 Bern, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Was heisst Ästhetisches Denken Internet International 2021

Abstract

1. SummaryThe undersigned applicants to the Sinergia grant intend to establish a collaborative network of all four German-language universities of arts in Switzerland under a single unified research question. Morever, the applicants also intend to integrate partners from the other Swiss universities of arts (Geneva, Lausanne, Ticino). The research question has four basic components: (i) An inquiry into different “practices of aesthetic thinking”, which will contribute to research that is significant for both the philosophy of aesthetics as well as pedagogy at universities of arts, where research on fundamental theoretical principles has always been an implicit part of pedagogical practice. The project strives (ii) to expand upon what has only implicitly been “put into practice” (tacit knowledge), but which does normally not belong to the realm of the expressly known, in order to channel it into a discourse. The initiative therefore aims to spur discussion on concepts that refer to “aesthetic experience” and the topos of “research in the arts”, which has come to be used on an international scale in the research of the last decades. It also intends to stoke debate on the specific “knowledge” of aesthetic thinking (in contrast to scientific knowledge). In doing so, the collaboration places less focus on researching the arts as such and more on focus on aesthetics as a general concept. (iii) The applicants also view it as imperative to link the discussion back to the history of aesthetics and to the question of “truth in art”. (iv) With the ultimate aim of developing a self-contained epistemology of aesthetics, our project seeks to identify a specific form of knowledge in aesthetics distinct from other, conceptual, discursive or “propositional” forms of knowledge in the sciences and philosophy. Thus, as far as the current state of research goes, the research group applying for the grant intends to, first, establish more thorough theoretical foundations for “aesthetic thinking” and develop different conceptions of it (key words: “wit” of art, essayistic principle, practice of critique, radical self-reflection) by undertaking a close analysis of the ways they are put into practice; second, to link back the development of a set of independent criteria for evaluating art to both the history of the establishment of independent universities of arts and to the specific form of critique carried out by the arts in general and their various manifestations in individual works in particular; third, to draw conclusions from the conditions established by the Bologna Process for “aesthetic education” and the training at universities of arts. Fourth and beyond that, the group aims to delineate the consequences these questions have for the problem of judgment in the arts as well as for the formulation of criteria of for the critical evaluation of the arts, and to develop models for the evaluation of PhD projects in the arts. The applicants have opted against adhering to a conception of “research” borrowed from the natural sciences, which on the one hand, always raises the question of methodology and foundations, and, on the other, tends to subordinate art in favor of the criteria of scientism. Instead, the project seeks to place special weight on “reflection of the arts in the arts” that is irreducible to other forms of thinking. We conceive of this specific mode of artistic reflexivity as a form of thinking through practice. The general thesis is that practices themselves are not always bound up with a specific form of thinking (which is based in judgement), but that there are also forms of practices that performatively induce reflexivity. Thus, the group’s research necessitates, firstly, the historic exploration of the philosophical traditions of aesthetics (from Baumgarten to Adorno), secondly, a systematic exploration of discussions about non-propositional thinking in different fields, thirdly, an analysis of this thesis as it pertains to the multiplicity of the arts and aesthetic practices (fine arts, music, film, design etc.), and fourthly, a systematic comparison between the intrinsic “logics” of artistic and scientific practices of knowledge-production and their methods. Thus, from the very beginning, our research will take multiple perspectives into account. The crux of the project lies in comprehensively approaching the complexity of the topic from different angles and with the collaborating researchers’ distinct areas of expertise, which will complement one another. For this reason, the title uses the plural form: Practices of aesthetic thinking take diverse shapes; they show themselves in creative processes; they reveal different aspects of themselves in the distinct fields of arts. The four proposed work groups are linked to this: They encompass, respectively, philosophical, practical, historical, and educational approaches.
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