Through tracing the unique ontology of the art object as it persists now, I hope to address such aporetic questions as: What is the value of aesthetic value today? What kind of universally normative conditions can still be asserted as a priori for the situation of aesthetic engagement, when the self-critical artist increasingly seeks to engineer specific conditions for the reception of her work? Could (the labour of) spectatorship be shifted from the sphere of reception to the sphere of production whilst maintaining the aesthetic distance of non-participation? How can we restore the haptic to visuality – thus grounding an appearance long ephemerized through mechanical reproduction and smart phones – whilst refraining from actually touching what is there in front of us? Could the epistemological categories of Kant’s 3rd Critique be reworked and relativized to account for the specific social subject, by engaging recent developments in the field of queer phenomenology? Can the ‘aura’ be salvaged by moving away from a conception of the object as a moment in the life of the sovereign subject, to a situation whereby the subject is countenanced as a moment in the processual life of the object, (in line with Adorno’s theory of reconciliation)? What kind of material and formal properties might adequate to Hegel’s outlining of a Synthesis that suspends the moments of its negations; of a Being and Becoming entwined in Stasis?
Mineral life obliterates scale. Is mineral life therefore powerful enough to smash through the subject’s sovereign gaze, and if so, how can we put this natural force to use?