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Why Art?: The Anthropocene, Ecocriticism, and Adorno’s Concept of Natural Beauty
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.
2019 (English)In: Adorno Studies, ISSN 1927-8748, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 64-79Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

The article confronts contemporary ecocriticism with Adorno’s concept of natural beauty. If ecocriticism may be understood as a reaction to climate change – the gravity of the situation turns the academic into an activist – a fundamental question often remains unanswered: why should we turn to art if we are facing ecological disaster? The article then presents Adorno’s answer to this question, an answer that is closely tied to his theory of natural beauty. A crucial point in Adorno’s discussion of nature is that we no longer have access to it. We are stuck in a second nature which deprives us of all contact with first nature. But the closest we can get to this absent nature is art, and more precisely natural beauty, which contains both a memory of something lost, and a promise of something yet to come. Therefore the aesthetic experience is a moment where the subject may approach something unknown – something which is not subject, not human – in a non-dominating way. In that sense art may be our best option to get out of the anthropocentrism which prevents us from even understanding the current situation. After a comparison with contemporary theorists like Timothy Morton and Claire Colebrook, the article finally turns to Andrei Tarkovsky’s film The Sacrifice in order to illustrate what the strange combination of memory and promise in natural beauty may look like in practice. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 3, no 1, p. 64-79
Keywords [en]
natural beauty, second nature, promise, memory, déjà vu, truth content, Timothy Morton, Claire Colebrook, Andrei Tarkovsky
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-36782OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-36782DiVA, id: diva2:1340793
Available from: 2019-08-06 Created: 2019-08-06 Last updated: 2019-08-13Bibliographically approved

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