Working towards an
aesthetic un-manifesto of our times
From a performative, on looker, psychological notion of aesthetics to living, embodied, experiential, biological basis of beauty
Usual Manifestos are about the 'Do's' and this manifesto is about the 'Don'ts'.......Do's take you to the known but 'Don'ts' take you to the unknown the place where beauty resides- probably. It is a process of eliminating, keeping the door open for the discovery of the unknown.......
In the times when everything is getting homogenized- knowledge, aesthetics, life- an attempt is being made to reexamine some fundamental existential issues. Beauty is definitely one among them- the most intangible and probably the least understood. The word beauty is being used purposely, instead of aesthetic sense because aesthetic sense has been used to cover up the real function of beauty and more over aesthetics is often explored within the realm of performance/ appreciation- a special kind of activity that only few people are supposedly capable of performing or appreciating. Naturally this belongs to the realm of mind and psychology and becomes exclusive.
Anthropocentrism has masked us from seeing the existential basis of total life and its connection with human life.
The attempt is to understand beauty experientially within the existential need for the sustenance of life itself, very much like centrality of knowledge and conduct for survival of life.
Beauty is located within our being as the organizing or ordering or compositional principle of life. Beauty is that which helps in establishing the pace and rhythm in our actions and the organization or 'composition' in our lives.
Art, which originally meant skill, became a mental activity just as what happened with knowledge when humanity took to the 'modernity' route. Even theory originally meant experience. Art can also be used as aptness
Aesthetic experience reminds and connects one to the order inherent in life. But as our shifts to the product or performance this crucial aspect gets masked.
In the case of rural tribal non literate communities it appears that the 'vernacular aesthetics' is not just about materials but about something in the being-ness of the people. They are continuously responding to materials that come in their way, both aesthetically and innovating new ways of doing.
In a way, doing minimum or a feeling of letting things be with no effort to control.
We miss this because we are trained to see the product or at best the process but never the people behind and their effortless action. Nor do have any experiential reference to understand due to our regimented ‘schooling’.
Above all this, is it possible for us to imbibe these qualities and also enable the students that we engage with to acquire ‘indigenous- ness’. Is it possible to work with the ‘vernacular’ with total respect to initiate a new way of engaging with them.
Beauty then is no longer a part time activity called art but present every second of our lives and guides us in everything we do.
Breathing is not a choice, likewise learning is not a choice. Beauty also exists within our being with the same kind of choice-lessness.
Is an UN MANIFESTO possible?