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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24901

Title: Aesthetics of Expenditure: Art, Philosophy, and the Infinite Faculty
Authors: Turpin, Stephen
Advisor: Boler, Megan
Department: Theory and Policy Studies in Education
Keywords: aesthetics
art history
Immanuel Kant
Georges Bataiile
Robert Smithson
Gilles Deleuze
Jacques Derrida
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Abstract: The dissertation re-examines the philosophy of Georges Bataille within the context of post-Kantian aesthetics and argues for a re-evaluation of Bataille’s notion of expenditure [depenser] within this context. The dissertation argues further that the artistic practice of Robert Smithson is an exemplary case of an ‘aesthetics of expenditure.’ It is our contention that Bataille’s cosmic-energetic philosophy finds a complementary material expression in Smithson’s abstract geology and its confrontation with post-Kantian aesthetics. We will argue that this occurs through Smithson’s varying strategies, which are grouped conceptually according to the broader logic of their expression:seriality, sedimentality, monumentality, and meandering. While Smithson’s own references to Bataille in the early 1970s are discussed in detail, it is not our position that Smithson was enacting Bataille’s philosophy ‘aesthetically’; rather, by reading Bataille’s evaluation of Kant’s aesthetics and teleology in relation to Smithson’s artistic practice, we emphasize instead that the politics of disgust shared by both figures advance a radical decentring and repositioning of the human in relation to planetary and geological forces. If, as geologists now agree, our present age is that of the Anthropocene1, our argument is that Bataille and Smithson anticipate this precarious condition analytically, and, perhaps more importantly, that their analysis suggests further important diagnostic considerations at the level of social organization and political composition that might help defer, if not entirely prevent, the catastrophic end of this all-too-human period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24901
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education - Doctoral theses

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