Aesthetic theory in the West has, until now, been dominated by ideas of effect, autonomy, and reception. Transformative Aesthetics uncovers these theories’ mutual concern with the transformation of those involved.
From artists to spectators, readers, listeners, or audiences, the idea of transformation is one familiar to cultures across the globe. Transformation of the individual is only one part of this aesthetic phenomenon, as contemporary artists are increasingly called upon to have a transformative, sustainable impact on society at large. To this end, Erika Fischer Lichte and Benjamin Wihstutz present a series of fresh perspectives on the discussion of aesthetics, uniting Western theory with that of India, China, Australia, and beyond.
Each chapter of Transformative Aesthetics focuses on a different approach to transformation, from the foundations of aesthetics to contemporary theories, breaking new ground to establish a network of thought that spans theatre, performance, art history, cultural studies, and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Transformative Aesthetics—Reflections on the Metamorphic Power of Art
1 Aristotle’s theory of Katharsis in its Historical and Social Contexts
2 The Taste of Art and Transcendence: Transformation(s) in Rasa and Bhakti Aesthetics
3 Metamorphosis in the Picture
4 Somaesthetics and Self-Cultivation in Chinese Art
5 Schiller’s Transformative Aesthetics
6 Clairvoyance and Transformation: Wagner’s Neuroaesthetics
Matthew Wilson Smith
7 The Invisible Vanguard: Reflections on Political Movements and Contemporary AvantGarde Formations
8 Applied Theatre: Theatre for Change
9 Transformative Resistance and Aesthetics
10 The Art of not Relating with one Another—Notes on Some Issues and Potentials of Relational Art
Erika FISCHER-LICHTE is professor of Theatre Studies at Free University Berlin. She is past president of the International Federation for Theatre Research, and holds the chair of the Institute for Advanced Studies on "Interweaving Cultures in Performance".
Benjamin WIHSTUTZ is assistant professor of Theatre Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and a research fellow for eight years at the Interdisciplinary Research Center "Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits".