Of human birds and living rocks: remaking aesthetics for post-human worlds

Dixon, D.P., Hawkins, H. and Straughan, E. (2012) Of human birds and living rocks: remaking aesthetics for post-human worlds. Dialogues in Human Geography, 2(3), pp. 249-270. (doi:10.1177/2043820612468692)

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Abstract

Geographers have long pondered post-human worlds. And yet, whilst such analyses have explored the natural and physical sciences as a means of articulating the relationalities and commonalities that span species and kingdoms, an explicit consideration of the aesthetic has been largely absent. To a degree, this is because the aesthetic has been understood as a `humanist remain'. Here, we want to make a stronger claim for the value of the aesthetic as a stepping off point for thinking through post-human geographies. We begin by acknowledging a productive tension within Kantian and post-Kantian accounts of sense-making: that is, a series of questions that speak directly to the post-human have been raised by dwelling upon how the aesthetic can be related to bodily needs and desires, as well as a feeling that emerges from the exercise of judgement. Then, we make the argument that, as a means of developing our aesthetic sensibility, geography can usefully further its engagement with art theory and practice. This leads us to ground our own exploration of the post-human in a discussion of two projects created by artist Perdita Phillips. Moving from a consideration of bowerbirds in the savanna to thrombolites in a saline lake, and from evolutionary biology to a Deleuzo -Guattarian geophilosophy, we ask, where is the artistry?

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dixon, Professor Deborah and Straughan, Dr Elizabeth
Authors: Dixon, D.P., Hawkins, H., and Straughan, E.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Dialogues in Human Geography
ISSN:2043-8206
ISSN (Online):2043-8214

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