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Aesthetics in the Wild – digital publication inaugural address

Aesthetics in the Wild: Art and Design Practices and Pedagogies After the Situated Turn

Author: Michel van Dartel

Humans are inseparable from the world around them. Yet remarkably, time and again, human-oriented research and development treats them as isolated from their surroundings. This is particularly true in the domains of art and design, where convention has it that work is produced in studios and experienced in the sterile environs of art and design venues.

How can we expect art and design to forge meaningful connections to the world when they consistently treat artists, designers, audiences and users as if they were separate from it?

In this essay, Michel van Dartel shows that the stakes involved in this isolation are higher than they may appear at first glance. As we live in cities developed around data and act within the inscrutable structure of the present-day economy, there exists an unprecedentedly urgent need for artists and designers to help us understand how we relate to our surroundings.

Connecting ideas from fields ranging from cognitive science to avant-garde art and design history, Van Dartel argues that we need to consider aesthetics “in the wild” if we are to respond to this exigency.

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A shortened version of this essay was delivered as a lecture on the occasion of the inauguration of Professor Michel van Dartel on 18 November 2016 at Avans University of Applied Sciences, Breda, the Netherlands.

The printed version of the book can be ordered via:

‘People are the product of their relationships with their environment. It’s important to understand how technological developments influence these relationships.’

Michel van Dartel is Research Professor Situated Art and Design at the Avans Centre of Applied Research for Art, Design and Technology (Caradt) and Director of V2_Lab for the Unstable Media.

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Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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