In the essay Berta explores a range of devices that transform or “augment” our sensory perception. An example he discusses is Moon Ribas’ Seismic Sense: a sensor worn by the artist that vibrates when an earthquake occurs somewhere in the world. This device, Berta says, not only notifies or alerts the artist of an earthquake happening, but gives rise to an affective experience (one of feeling “close”, “connected”, or even “being there”). Seismic Sense, and the other devices Berta discusses, illustrate that our brain can adapt to new sensory stimuli. In the final section of his article Berta pushes further and argues that devices like Seismic Sense can facilitate aesthetic experiences of the sublime.
Yorick Berta is an independent scholar and writer based in Vienna. He is starting a PhD project this autumn at the University of Arts and Industrial Design Linz. Berta will be looking at the use of organic and decaying materials in the art of the 60s, for example in movements like Fluxus or Land Art or in the oeuvre of artists like Dieter Roth, Gordon Matta-Clark and Robert Rauschenberg. Exhibited inside the white cube, artworks made out of chocolate, yeast, or cheese enter a highly ambiguous relationship with their institutional frame, posing questions regarding the attribution of value to art, the distinction of art and life and the legitimacy of conservation endeavours. In his research Berta will frame these artworks as a form of non-human agency entering the Western art system.
The Debates in Aesthetics Prize (formerly the Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics Prize) is awarded to best paper by a postgraduate student or early career academic. For this award all papers from our last published issue were taken into consideration. The papers were judged by members of the editorial board, the editors, and previous editors of the journal. The next prize will be awarded to the best paper in our next general issue, for which we are currently inviting submissions (deadline 31 July 2020), see the call for papers here.
The previous winner of the prize was Lewis Coyne, for the paper ‘Heidegger and the problem of the Sublime’ (Published in Vol 10 No 1, read it here).