73447 - Aesthetics T

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will have enhanced their cultural equipment for a critical analysis of philosophical reflection on things and objects, starting from the basic elements of contemporary aesthetic and from its historical background, with attention being given to some of the thematic areas to which it applies (design, cinema, communication, fashion, urban culture, and so on).

Course contents

The integrated course History and aesthetics of the industrial product (12 CFU, 120 hours) is composed of the course History of industrial design TI - formed by two modules (the characterizing module 1, 3 CFU, 30 hours, and the module 2, 3 CFU, 30 hours) - and from the course of Aesthetics T - formed by two modules (the characterizing module 1, 4 CFU, 40 hours, and the module 2, 2 CFU, 20 hours).

The course Aesthetics for design: things and industrial objects, art and technology covers two aspects:

- A general approach to the philosophy of things, discussing subjects such as the distinction between thing and object, the construction of a language of things, the relationship between art and technique, an exploration of literary and anthropological studies on emotional, symbolic and cognitive ties with things, key-concepts for the study of objects such as fetish, artefact, relic, simulacrum, collection, performative object, etc..

- A more specific exploration of the aesthetics related to the design, with a survey of debates central to the field, like those about the ornament, the relationship between form and function, the aestheticization of everyday life, the industrial arts, etc.

The course is divided into 2 parts, corresponding to the aforementioned two aspects,the first contains 8 blocks of 5 hours, the second one contains 4 blocks of 5 hours.

Each block is organized as follows: 2-3 hours of lectures; 3-2 hours of required exercises (analysis of visual material; workshops with guests; questionnaires on the program of the course etc.).

At the beginning of the course, the methods of implementation of the joint work on the two parts of Aesthetics and on the two parts of History will be illustrated in detail. An object, a creative project for the final exercise, accompanied by a conceptual scheme that uses the keys gradually offered by the course, and a notebook will be chosen and used for both disciplines.

The final evaluation will be obtained through the presentation at the final seminar (in common with History of the industrial product) and the oral exam in both disciplines of the course.


Readings/Bibliography

First part

1. Introduction to the course. Things and objects: Remo Bodei, La vita delle cose, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2009; Carlo Severi, L’oggetto-persona, Torino, Einaudi, 2018, p. 3-8.

2. Collection: Walter Benjamin, Tolgo la mia biblioteca dalle casse (1931), in Id., Opere complete, vol. 4, Scritti 1930-1931, Torino, Einaudi, 2002, p. 456-463 (and Id., § 4, Luigi Filippo o l'«intérieur», di Parigi, la capitale del XIX secolo (1935), in Id., I «passages» di Parigi, Torino, Einaudi, 2002, vol. 1, p. 11-13).

3. Fetish and Uncanny: William Pietz, Fetish, in R. S. Nelson and R. Shiff, eds., Critical Terms for Art History, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London, 1996, p. 197-207; Sigmund Freud, Il perturbante in Id., Saggi sull’arte, la letteratura, il linguaggio, transl. by Silvano Daniele, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 1996, p. 271-307; Mark Fisher, The weird and the eerie. Lo strano e l'inquietante nel mondo contemporaneo, Roma, Minimum Fax, 2018.

4. Function and Adornement: Georg Simmel, L’ansa del vaso in Andrea Pinotti ed., La questione della brocca, Milano, Mimesis, 2007, p. 11-17; Ernst Bloch, Una vecchia brocca, in Id., Lo spirito dell'utopia, ed. it. by Francesco Coppellotti, Milano, Rizzoli, 2007, p. 13-17; Ernst Bloch, Iconoclastia e ornamenti in Id., Ornamenti. Arte, filosofia e letteratura, ed. by Micaela Latini, Roma, Armando, 2012, p. 71-99.

5. Japanese Aesthetics and everyday life: Giangiorgio Pasqualotto, Il vuoto nel chanoyu [tea ceremony], in Id., Estetica del vuoto. Arte e meditazione nelle culture d'Oriente, Padova, Marsilio, 2012, p. 77-89 and Simon May, The Power of Cute, Princeton – Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2019, p. 1-18, 59-109.

6. Anthropocene and contrast to climate change through objects: J.R. McNeill, Peter Engelke, La grande accelerazione. Una storia ambientale dell’Antropocene dopo il 1945, Torino, Einaudi, 2014, p. 3-7, 193-197; Anthropocene – Burtynsky, Baichwal, De Pencier (Bologna, Mast: https://anthropocene.mast.org/); Serge Latouche, Origine e funzionamento dell’obsolescenza programmata, in Id., Usa e getta, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2015, p. 64-99 and Id., Verso una società di abbondanza frugale, in Id., Per un’abbondanza frugale. Malintesi e controversie sulla decrescita, Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 2012, p. 13-24.

Second part

7. Introduction to the module 2 Exercises of Aesthetics.

8. Make, design: Tim Ingold, The materials of life, and On building an House in Id., Making, London-New York, Routledge, 2013, p. 17-31, 74-59.

9. Things of the life: Georges Perec, Le cose, Einaudi, Torino, 2011.

10. Things and personal identity: Daniel Miller, Cose che parlano di noi. Un antropologo a casa nostra, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2014.

11. Collecting fetishes: Michele Mari, Asterusher. Autobiografia per feticci, Corraini, Mantova, 2015

12. Migrants and things: Luca Pisoni, Il bagaglio intimo. Gli oggetti dei migranti in viaggio verso l’Europa, Meltemi, Milano, 2018.

[specific study pages for each book of the second module will be indicated during the lessons]


Teaching methods

he course includes 60 hours of lessons (first part 40 hours, second part 20 hours).

Assessment methods

The integrated course History and Aesthetics of the industrial product (12 CFU, 120 hours) is composed of the course History of industrial design TI - formed by two modules (the characterizing module 1, 3 CFU, 30 hours, and the module 2, 3 CFU, 30 hours) - and from the course of Aesthetic T - formed by two modules (the characterizing module 1, 4 CFU, 40 hours, and the module 2, 2 CFU, 20 hours).

The examination of the integrated course History and aesthetics of the industrial product includes the verification of the learning of the contents of all teachings and modules that make up the integrated course and takes place in a single exam.

Oral examination. Short texts written or discussed by students are welcome.

The single exam is split in two parts: Aesthetics for Design and History of Design. There will be only one mark as the two courses are integrated in the course named History and Aesthetics of the industrial product.

In detail: the verification of the learning objective of enhancing the cultural equipment for a critical analysis of philosophical reflection on things and objects, starting from the basic elements of contemporary aesthetics and from its historical background, with attention being given to some of the thematic areas to which it applies (design, cinema, communication, fashion, urban culture, and so on) will be implemented through presentations of texts or audiovisual materials agreed with the teacher within the course, and, as far as the exercise part is concerned, by elaborating synthesis texts, short films or creative artifacts, as well as through the individual oral examination at the end of the course which will include questions on the texts suggested in bibliography and – in common with the part of History – on different final works foreseen by the program.

Teaching tools

The bibliographies specific to the different parts of the course will be analyzed and acquired during the various lessons, starting with the tools available in the texts indicated in the program. The teaching material presented during the lessons is made available to the student in paper or electronic format via the internet, also following the access restrictions, according to the modalities that will be indicated at the beginning of the course.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Borsari

See the website of Pierpaolo Ascari