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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PH 304"
COURSE NAME: "Philosophy of Art and Beauty "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session I 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Brunella Antomarini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MTWTH 3:40-5:30 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing; Corequisite: EN 110
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
On this course we will examine philosophers’ fascinating attempts to understand art and explore the multiple roles that it can play in our lives. We will consider such issues as what ‘art’, ‘beauty’, ‘creativity’, ‘expression’, and ‘imagination’ can mean, whether our judgments about them can ever be objective, how art relates to our feelings and to our understanding of the external world, how it reflects society, religion, and politics, and the radical differences between contemporary, modern, and classical kinds of art.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

LEONARDO'S LEGACY: ART AS LUDIC TECHNIQUE

 

SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT

 

The aim of this course is to give students a survey of the main philosophical problems arising from the questions of beauty and art, with a special emphasis on contemporary art forms. All artworks arise from a phase in which playfulness, experimentation, occasional integration (or montage) of heterogeneous elements and different traditions intertwine. Artists, like children, play with chance, error and disturbance. In art the dynamic moment is merged with the traditional and the technical. Technologies of art have always been such a ludic tool (as was the case in Renaissance times, whether it involved the use of a geometric perspective, or of a rudimental camera, or the construction of imaginative machines).

Key concepts to the structure of the lectures are: allegorical, chance, construction, dysfunctional, editing (montage), experiment, fragment, functional, gratuitous, mimesis, nature, representation, sequences, symbolic, technique. Aesthetics emerge as a controversial battleground for philosophical analysis.

 

Each class consists of introductory lectures, textual analyses and in-class discussion abut specific theorists discussing artists or artistic currents, with a focus on visual arts, and a look at theatre, poetry, music and dance. Power Point projections of classical and contemporary artworks are shown and discussed. A few guest lectures and films may be included in the program.

Class discussion and motivation are fundamental for the accomplishment of the required task.

 

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES:

 

Through written and oral tests, readings and in-class discussions, students will be able to understand and interpret art and especially contemporary art, particularly in their latest technological expressions. The issues at stake will make students aware of the necessity of being critical and analytic in their evaluations of both philosophical arguments and art productions. 

The argumentative character of philosophy entails strong motivation, constant attention, active participation in class and interaction with the professor.

TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
final exam 40%
Oral mid-term exam 30%
Participation in class and attendances 15%
One paper at home 15%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

 

 

EXCERPTS FROM TEXTS TO BE EXAMINED IN DEPTH (in any good editions or online, or in books on reserve in the library):

W.Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age if its Mechanical Reproduction 

G. Careri, Flights of Love (Ch. II)

V. Chlebnikov, The Radio of the Future (online)

A. Danto, The Abuse of Beauty (Introduction)

De Strada, Disegni artificiali

M. Duchamp, The Creative Act (Online)

Florensky, Beyond Vision (pp. 201-207; 225-242)

L. Henderson, Duchamp in Context (pp. 223-236)

I. Kant, Critique of Judgement (Book I, §17-23)

Leonardo da Vinci, A New Art of Invention (from the Notebooks, ebook)

Lister et al. New Media. A Critical introduction (pp.115-136)

Marinetti, The Joy of Mechanical Force (from Manifesto of Futurism, pp. 1-6)

B. Newman, The Sublime is Now (online)

Alva Noe, Varieties of Presence (Ch.5)

E. Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form (pp. 27-35; 67-72)

Plato, Republic X, Phaedrus

D. Quaranta, The Internet State of Mind: Art and the Internet

L. Shiner, The Invention of Art (pp.22-33; 90-93; 197-221; 251-255)

P. Virilio, The Accident of Art (pp. 78- 88)

REFERENCE TEXTS:

The Routledge Companion of Aesthetics (online)

EXCERPTS FROM FILMS AND VIDEOS:

 

Greenaway The Draughtsman's Contract (1983)

Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon

A. Sokurov, Russian Ark/C.Marker, La Jétée/L. von Trier, 5 Obstructions

Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dalì, Un chien andalou

Salvador Dalì and Walt Disney, Destino

Excerpts from, Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch

Glitch music (Autechre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acuwRHIWL_o)

Theo Jansen, Animaris

Joseph Nachvatal, Computer virus project

Stelarc, The Body is Obsolete

Roberta Lapucci on Caravaggio

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjXYfpnp_IA)

D. Hockney, Secret Knowledge

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4XCmgAo_yg)

Bruce Nauman (Disappearing Acts)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkclGz3JOgc

WEEK 1

Introduction

Plato against art, Rep. X

Plato on beauty and techne; Phaedrus; Ion

Renaissance and classical beauty. Leonardo

Reverse and geometric perspective; Florensky and Panofsky

Hockney's hypothesis and Lapucci  - Caravaggio and the camera obscura

WEEK 2

Baroque, Bernini and Careri

Kant on aesthetic judgment

Kant and beauty

Kant and the sublime

Duchamp and the avant-garde

WEEK 3

Malevich; Khlebnikov; Marinetti

American avant-garde: Abstraction and Barnett Newman

Reading Newman

Pop art: Warhol and Danto  

Preparing the research paper

WEEK 4

Social background: Shiner and Henderson

Review

MID-TERM EXAM

videos from Duchamp; Bunuel-Dalì; Artaud; Maya Deren

Benjamin

WEEK 5

Reading Benjamin

Alva Noe

Reading Alva Noe

WEEK 6

Lister and the new Media

Virilio and Quaranta

Review

FINAL EXAMINATION