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Art, Terrorism and the Negative Sublime

Picture: DOD (PD)

Arnold Berleant writes at Contemporary Aesthetics:

1. Terrorism and Aesthetics

It has become increasingly clear that the arts, and the aesthetic, more generally, occupy no hallowed ground but live on the everyday earth of our lives. Recognition is growing that the aesthetic is a pervasive dimension of the objects and activities of daily life. Perceptual experiences that possess the characteristics of aesthetic appreciation are marked by an intense, focused sensibility we enjoy for its intrinsic perceptual satisfaction. We typically have such experiences with works of art and with nature, but they are equally possible in other occasions and with other kinds of objects. Such experiences engage us in an intensely sensory field in which we participate wholly and without reservation, as we customarily do with works of art. The objects and occasions, however, may be ordinary ones, such as eating, hanging laundry, engaging in social relations, or operating a perfectly functioning automobile or other mechanism.

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