The aesthetic notion of the sublime has
been traced in different fields in the growing spheres of technology, capitalism,
and digitality. The variable character of the sublime is partly due to the fact
that it is identified with specific objects or sources. It can emerge whenever
there is an antithesis between the infinite extensions of reason and the limits
of the representative faculty. Taking into account this variance, this article seeks
to reexamine the relationship of the sublime to technology, especially in view
of current digital capabilities. In doing so, I argue that the notion of the
sublime involves its own peculiar traits for delimiting and even blurring the
boundaries between the natural and the technical. This seems to be so because
techniques and language may shift and sometimes contest the incommensurability
of reason and representation that lies at the heart of the sublime. Moreover,
this phenomenon is countered by an anti-sublime effect (Manovich) that is achieved
through the extensive mapping and visualization abilities of digital media. In contrast
to the sublime, the anti-sublime is not based on contemplation but on habitual behavior.
By relating this characteristic of the anti-sublime to the work of Félix
Ravaisson, it finally seems that the sublime has been significantly affected by
digital culture and is likely to influence any further demarcations between the
natural and the technical.
anti-sublime; digital aesthetics; habit; Kant; Félix Ravaisson; sublime;
dynamic and, in many respects, daunting scale of modern technology and metropolitan
development-at-large has given rise to several discourses on the sublime from
different cultural and historical perspectives. Jean-François Lyotard and
Fredric Jameson have brought forward inner affinities of the sublime with
digital technology and capitalism, providing valuable insights on how these
elements are imprinted in contemporary temporalities and subjectivities.
Mario Costa and Vincent Mosco have explained how the sheer mass of the
interconnected mediascape is capable of generating tensions and infatuations
that are usually associated with the sublime.
Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe has described possible links between the sublime and contemporary
philosophical discourse, focusing on the ability of technology to reshape the horizon
of the post-human.
In addition, the sublime has been traced within a great array of cultural and
technological practices from light-art to radio.
variance of these accounts bears testimony to a common trait and, in some ways,
even a problem when analyzing the relationship of the sublime to cultural and
social phenomena, namely that there is no sublime object per se. That is because the sublime cannot actually be considered
identical to specific objects, natural or technical, and no object inherently has
a sublime character. The sublime arises only through certain mismatches of
rationality and imagination. This was one of the key arguments of the Kantian
analysis of the sublime, which still remains the main philosophical reasoning
on the subject. According to Kant, there is no definite attribute of the
sublime object since “sublimity is not contained in anything in nature but only
in our minds as we can become conscious to nature within and also to nature
This does not disrupt the experiential aspect of the sublime but rather
enlarges its scope and variability. In addition, Kant presupposes that the
sublime can arise only from a repository of moral ideas, since “what we call
sublime will appear merely repellent to the unrefined person.”
One that does not know or share these kinds of ideas will usually be overcome
with fear or repulsion against natural or artificial phenomena that can
generate the feeling of the sublime.
these intellectual and perceptual complexities, it should be noted that mere enthusiasm
and awe, which often envelop the reception of technological innovation, should
not always be associated with the sublime. This may be the reason why the issue
of the so-called “technological sublime” has been at the periphery of
philosophical scholarship but has become a more focused subject of discussion
in American historiography. David Nye sought to trace a specifically American
technological sublime that stems from American morality and cultural values,
making the implicit philosophic argument that “sublimity is not inherent but a
This seems like an overstatement of the Kantian argument that the sublime is
dependent upon moral ideas. Nevertheless, the issue that seems to arise bears
not on what exactly is the sublime in technology but on how technology can be a
vehicle for the communicability of the sublime and whether this is hindered or alternatively
enhanced by specific cultural mindsets and social experience.
as no object is inherently sublime, it would be difficult to philosophically define
a specific technological sublime. It would seem more useful to examine if and
how technology affects the mental and imaginative incommensurability that
creates the sublime in the first place. Within this kind of problematization, this
article will focus on the increasing enhancement of visualization and mapping
techniques. The sublime is an ability of the imagination, and the fact that technology,
notably through visual media, can widen our oversight of natural and technical
objects is likely to affect the limits of representation. The very term
“technological sublime” seems to denote a difference from the “natural
sublime.” But what this essay will explore is whether the sublime is a category
that creates its own useful distinctions between the technical and the natural.
From this perspective, it will be argued here that the sublime does not concern
merely aesthetics but, as even the early accounts of the sublime seem to point
out, can also be an analytical tool for several demarcations of the natural and
the technical or the artificial, and help us to better grasp the cultural
dimension of digitality.
2. Was the sublime always
treatise that was the source for the sublime in modern thought is pseudo-Longinus’
Peri Ypsoys, a treatise on rhetoric probably
written in the first century ACE, which seems to have been centered on the limitations of the natural and the technical. A main theme is whether the appearance
of the sublime in discourse is due to a formal rhetorical training or to an
innate ability to evoke and sense sublime experiences. As Baldine Saint-Girons
argues, this introduces a long-standing dilemma in the history of the sublime
as to whether it is subject to physis
Of course, this distinction does not concern the actual object that stirs up
the feeling of the sublime. It mainly involves the inner disposition and
representative ability of the spectator or the listener. In other words, the
link of a technical element to the sublime is not initially based on a gigantism
or dynamism of a device but on whether the sublime is the outcome of a natural
disposition or of an artificial and taught method of reasoning.
solution to this issue in pseudo-Longinus’s treatise seems to lie in a middle
ground, that is, that the sublime must be cultivated through figures of speech
but fundamentally concerns a natural and inner ability. More specifically,
it argues that there is a natural tendency to push the limits of the human
representative faculty, an argument that will be decisive for the philosophical
development of the term even in the modern period. As pseudo-Longinus informs
us, “nature has called us into life, to the whole of universe, to be spectators
of her games and eager competitors” but at the same time “the whole of universe
is not enough to satisfy the speculative intelligence of the human thought.”
So it is from “natural instinct that we admire not the small streams” but the
“Nile, the Rhine, the Danube and above all the Ocean.”
Hence, the origins of the sublime appear to be in the gray zone between formal
representation abilities and techniques of imagination, verbal or depictive.
is useful to point out that Kant argues that the sublime is not primarily able
to reveal the technical dimension of nature. On the contrary, Kant considers
that the beautiful would be more apt to help us locate a common technical
dimension in humans and nature. He points out that the “self-sufficient beauty
of nature reveals to us a technique of nature,” a technique that is capable of
generating the idea of “purposiveness with respect to the use of the power of
judgment in regard to appearances.”,
This bears the potential to expand the “concept of nature, namely as mere
mechanism, into the concept of nature as art.”
On the contrary, the sublime exhibits none of these characteristics and
precludes the idea of natural purposiveness, while it suggests that “the
possible use of its intuitions makes palpable in us a purposiveness that is
entirely independent from nature.”
following pseudo-Longinus, Kant makes the point that the sublime corresponds to
a specific intuitive and innate stratum in human perception. But Kant was also
aware that technical enhancement could influence the scales and magnitudes that
fall within the human range. Indeed, the philosophical debate of the notion of
the sublime in the eighteenth century was contemporary to a radical enhancement
of the technology of optics. For example, by the time Kant was writing his Critique of the Power of Judgment
(1790), William Herschel had already discovered Uranus through the use of the
telescope, the first planet that cannot be seen with the naked eye, whereas several
decades before, the Dutch Antonie van Leeuwenhoek had discovered bacteria through a microscope. That basically
meant that the actual limits of representation were greatly altered by technical
apparatuses, an issue that the so-called “archeology of media” has investigated
In Kant’s analysis of the sublime, especially in what he coined the “mathematical
sublime,” this change of scale by technical means was already embedded in human
subjectivity. As he explains:
Here one readily sees that nothing can
be given in nature, however great it may be judged to be by us, which could
not, considered in another relation, be diminished down to the infinitely
small; and conversely, there is nothing so small, which could not, in
comparison with even smaller standards, be amplified for our imagination up to
the magnitude of a world. The telescope has given us rich material for making
the former observation, the microscope rich material for the latter.
may argue that this kind of oscillation between magnitudes and infinitesimal
scales embraced all the subsequent
development of technical optic devices. However, changes of distant and close
vision are not only the outcome of the technical possibilities of enhancement
but also result from complex phenomenological situations. In Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard went
to great length to show the limits between inner imagination and actual
observation, especially in what he calls “intimate immensity,” whereby the
subject can potentially magnify, by his imagination, every object or image.
Commenting on Henry David Thoreau’s description of nature, he concluded that
“any doctrine of the imagery is necessarily a philosophy of excess, and all
images are destined to be enlarged.”
it does remain a fact that these phenomenological intricacies have been made
rather more concrete since they were materialized in several techniques of the
image. Art played a significant role in this. Since its inception, ‘the sublime’
has been a term that concerned primarily natural observation, rhetoric, and
poetry. Jonathan Richardson’s An Essay on
the Theory of Painting (1725) is one of the first attempts to specifically analyze
what can be a portrayal of the sublime in painting.
As Lyotard has argued extensively, by the time of high modernism, visual arts had
become a privilege of the sublime.
But in addition to art, modern optical means offered a complex patchwork of
spectatorship that, in a sense, exteriorizes the changes of scale and magnitude
that were once the vehicle of reason and language metaphors. After telescopes
and microscopes, the advent of cinema, video, and today, of new image techniques
such as 3-D modeling, algorithmic processing, fractals, and so on have created
whole new imagescapes where changes of scale are continuously activated.
main ground for the appearance of the sublime is the incommensurability between
rationality and representation. According to Kant, the sublime is generated
through a “displeasure” that becomes manifest when “the subject’s own
incapacity [Unvermögen] reveals the consciousness of an unlimited capacity, and
the mind can aesthetically judge the latter only through the former.”
In this case, a subject thinks it is impossible to grasp the infinite, yet the
very idea that she or he can direct the internal intuitions of the mind towards
it produces this kind of incommensurability that simultaneously becomes the source of the
sublime. Yet this incommensurability is dependent upon the media of enhancement,
first language and, in the modern period, techniques of visualization. This was
implicit even in the beginning of the term in pseudo-Longinus’s treatise. The
underlying technical question is in what way can humans modify and enhance
their language capabilities in order to bring forward a sublime experience? But
today these capabilities are also those of visual and digital media. So this
issue becomes all the more crucial in light of technological advances, since
technology seems to shift the gaps of this incommensurability. The extension
and immersion of vision are vital components of these shifts, which have
increased since the nineteenth century to an extent that they have reached a pervasive
cultural range, from the telescope down to digital effects. This reiterates the
question of the technological sublime by the fact that technology can present
new methods that may contest the very incommensurability between human understanding
and observation. As it will be argued in the next section, this is where the
very idea of a technological anti-sublime comes into play.
3. The technological anti-sublime
digital may be associated with several cases of sublime ideas. The unfathomable
computing power and interconnectedness that have spread throughout the entire
digital realm bears an unimaginable mass of data and information that may be
deemed sublime. The same can be applied for the mathematics of digital processing.
The application of algorithmic reasoning and formal logic into programmable
hardware was the starting point of digital technology. This exteriorization of
reason into technical devices could also be the source of sublimity. One may
find a most evident and potent example in the conception of the so-called Turing
Machine that has been the seed for the subsequent growth of digitality.
Turing’s algorithm is mathematically proven to be the simplest and most potent
device of computing. But this kind of model can also be seen through the prism
of the “mathematical sublime,” for Turing’s Machine can, by definition, have an
infinite capacity of function and computer power.
the other hand, although the abstract mathematical models and the inner,
largely invisible and non-representable networks of digital technology are easy
to associate with the sublime, the actual software and devices that have shaped
new means of visualization can have the reverse effect. So even if digitality
is based on an unrepresentable mass of hidden interconnections, Lev Manovich
has succinctly noted the fact that the cleavage between the presentable and the
unpresentable is largely overridden by the abilities of digital mapping. For
Manovich, this creates an effect of “anti-sublime,” where there is a “promise”
that the seemingly unpresentable mass of data and flows of information can be boiled
down to data diagrams and graspable visual patterns. As he explains:
promise makes data mapping into the exact opposite of the Romantic art
concerned with the sublime. In contrast, data visualization art is concerned
with the anti-sublime. If Romantic artists thought of certain phenomena and
effects as un-represantable, as something which goes beyond the limits of human
senses and reason, data visualization artists aim at precisely the opposite: to
map such phenomena into a representation whose scale is comparable to the
scales of human perception and cognition.
Manovich’s hypothesis on the anti-sublime may acquire various and extremely
pervasive ramifications in the age of big-data, digital mining, and ubiquitous
interconnections. Of course, data visualization and diagrams are not a recent
invention and have played a key role in shaping modern and contemporary visual
culture. From Florence Nightingale’s Rose
Diagram in Victorian Britain (c. 1859), which determined the causes of
mortality in the Crimean War, thus establishing hospital hygiene as a key
component to war casualties and public health in general, down to media and
science, diagrams have become a standard component of visual culture. But with
digital mapping this technique has acquired more applicability and immense
may argue that the anti-sublime element is not only to be found in the narrow confines
of digital devices. Meteorology is perhaps a prime example of how large
quantities of data, and, ironically, even the tremendous meteorological
phenomena that provide a common example for the dynamic sublime of nature, can
also be considered as an example of the anti-sublime. Today, weather maps and forecasts
reports can condense vast movements and powers that were once thought to be out
of human grasp. In addition, any kind of analytic and thorough mapping, from
the biogenetic level, such as the brain and genome mapping, to that of energy
and climate level, can actually transform unharnessed magnitudes into
manageable and presentable information. On an overall level, one may detect a
certain antithesis of sublime and anti-sublime that lurks in techno-scientific
achievements, and this may also imply two radically different approaches and
aesthetic stances: one fueled by awe and the sublime against the vast space,
deep time, and big data of computation, and one that it is focused on
shortening and bridging these huge
asymmetries between human and natural scales.
reversal of the sublime in data visualization cannot only claim to downsize the
mathematical mass of data but also to reverse another feature of the sublime,
that is, that it cannot exactly possess universalized communicability. Kant had
already expressed doubts about the universalizing of the sublime, since it
presupposed a “supersensible vocation” that involves a “moral foundation.”
In this sense, the anti-sublime is not to be thought of as what Arnold Berleant
described as the “negative sublime,” analyzing the reactions and reception of
terrorism. The negative sublime involves the “recognition of negativity whose
enormity cannot be encompassed in either magnitude or force.”
In this case, “death” and “body counts” are the source of the negative sublime,
since they are “beyond measure.”
This effectively stamps the sublime experience with far-reaching distress and
it remains also based on moral grounds. The anti-sublime cancels these moral
underpinnings and transforms any spectacle or data into universally
communicable information and statistics. But what also seems to be at stake is
another notion that is vital to the sublime, namely that of incommensurability
between reason and representation, which will be examined in the final section.
4. Habit and the demise of incommensurability
argued that “the sublime is neither moral universality nor aesthetic
universalization but is rather the destruction of one by the other in the
violence of their differend.”
On the contrary, the anti-sublime annuls this differend by promoting an
informational universality and a universalization of human sensorium, which are
unified along the habitual behavior of users. Visualization and mapping do not
only affect the perceptive plain of technology but also enable the channeling
of data to uses and habits. Intelligent agents, data mining, and economic and
security algorithms, along with many other tools of current digital technology,
have the capacity to turn vast flows of data and actions into a double-feedback
between measurements of user/consumer behavior and habitual responses. Hence, something
that initially seems to emerge as a sublime mass of interconnections is not
only condensed and displayed graphically but can also be effectively linked to
interactive use and generate habitual rather than contemplative reception.
can redirect disinterested aesthetics into the realm of habit. Such a
phenomenon is hardly new for technology and audio-visuality. This kind of
redirection was one of the main arguments in Benjamin’s “Work of Art...” essay,
where he privileged distractive-habitual modes of
reception against the traditional optic-contemplative mode of aesthetic
The issue of “distraction” and “habit” seems to also have been solidified in
digital environments, provoking more complex alternations of aesthetic receptivity over the
course of communication.
the issue of the anti-sublime is largely the outcome of the relationship between
habit and contemporary aesthetics. It would very useful here to turn to the
rather neglected essay of the French nineteenth-century philosopher Félix
Ravaisson, On Habit, which
surprisingly can be very enlightening on the issue of the anti-sublime in
digital media because it also links habit to a crucial notion for the sublime,
namely incommensurability. Ravaisson’s book sets out to investigate a main philosophical
hypothesis, to consider habit not as a mere reflexive response but as a result
of intelligence and change.
As Catherine Malabou notes, this follows a large philosophical tradition that
includes Aristotle, Hegel, and Bergson, which ascribes to habit a “primary
ontological phenomenon” against a second philosophical view, exemplified in
Descartes and Kant, that “sees in habit the epitome of inauthenticity, a simulacrum
For Ravaisson, habit is something much more intricate than mere instinct, which
is only driven by biological predispositions. Ravaisson considers habit as a
cognitive borderline for the limits of nature. As he concludes:
Habit is thus, so to speak, the infinitesimal
differential, or the dynamic fluxion, from Will to Nature. Nature is
the limit of the regressive movement proper to habit. Consequently habit can be
considered as a method – as the only real method – for the estimation, by a
convergent infinite series, of the relation, real in itself, but
incommensurable in the understanding, of Nature and Will.
suggests that habit points to an incommensurability of understanding,
intelligence (which he actually identifies to will), and nature, something that
is also the building block of the sublime. And as argued above for the sublime,
habit seems also to become, following Ravaisson, a method for investigating the limitations of natural dispositions and technical interventions.
the anti-sublime announces itself as something able to reverse all that. For
Ravaisson, the exact measurement of habits could reveal the actual divides of
intelligence and nature or, correspondingly, that between the technical and the
natural, but it seems impossible for humans to conduct such measurement. Yet
with the vast computing capabilities of digital technology, this seems
achievable. So if the sublime had been latently based on the limitations of
nature and technique, the anti-sublime and the infinitesimal measurements of
habit offer indeed the reverse method for estimating the gap between the
natural and the technical. By transforming the sublime into habit, the
anti-sublime invalidates a lot of complexities in the theorization of nature
and implies that the relationship of culture to nature can become an issue of
measurements and habitual behavior and not one of contemplation and theoretical
debate; measurements that are enabled by the exteriorization and acceleration
of human reason in computation. In this perspective, the anti-sublime appears
as a bridle on the sublime by an instrument.
Schiller’s treatise On The Sublime had,
in a certain respect, prefigured this kind of antithesis. Schiller placed an
emphasis on a dichotomy: on the one hand, the need of man to comprehend and
arrange things, and on the other, the acceptance of the sublime as an
emancipatory effect, where humans come to terms with their inability to control
the natural forces. In this sense, history can also become a source for the sublime.
As Schiller explains: “The world, as a historical object, is basically nothing
else than the strife of the very natural forces with one another and with man’s
liberty, whereas history informs us for the achievement of this strife.”
To history one may today add the deep time of evolution as well as the prospect
of technological transformation of the natural environment and of the human
organism. The issue of sublime in technology may well subscribe to such a
dichotomy, since technology is arguably establishing itself as a main carrier
of historical changes: (technological) freedom against nature and the transformability
of humanity. As Josef Früchtl recently argued, this is already evident in some
trends of the current worldview, as it can be exemplified in cinematographic imaginary,
reestablishing grand- or meta-narratives that seems to defy the complex
stratifications of postmodernism and even give rise to new utopian vision for
all these respects, technology does not seem to offer a special or different
kind of sublime over any natural or historical object. It does, though, seem to
be a catalyst in order to understand the latent potential of this notion in an
era with vital shifts in human capacities and scope. In other words, the
sublime may be deemed an aesthetic domain that has an encompassing ability to
adjust to the anthropocene schema in the planet. As Kant clarifies in the last
sections of the Third Critique, the
overall development of judgment through rationality and aesthetics will help to
transform the powers of nature into culture.
But a crucial element in this respect is that, after Kant’s own historical time,
these teleological schemas have been undergoing radical transformations. For
example, Kantian conceptions of natural teleology and purposiveness are not
easily adjusted to contemporary findings of biology.
In a world where these schemas are debated and where the artificial and the
natural seem to be deeply intricate and more difficult to dissociate, the
sublime and its coupling with the anti-sublime may help to reevaluate the borderline
phenomena between nature and technology.
on Kant’s insistence that the sublime is largely generated within nature and
not art, Adorno had argued:
The sublime draws the demarcation line
between nature and what later was called arts and crafts. Kant covertly
considered art to be a servant. Art becomes human in the instant in which it
terminates this service. Its humanity is incompatible to any ideology of
service to humanity. It is loyal to humanity only through its inhumanity toward
the contrary, digital technology seems to replant the anti-sublime from human
reason to nature, making purposiveness and habit a matter of metrics and
mapping. It thus prefigures a kind of humanization of nature. The question that
lies ahead seems difficult to answer: Is this humanization of nature concomitant
with an inhumanity of our technology? In any case, the relationship of the
sublime to technology seems something more than a survival of classical aesthetic
categories or mere technological awe, and reveals crucial themes that may
finally shape our symbiotic interactions with our devices.
Vassiliou is currently Adjunct Professor at the Aristotle University of
Thessaloniki. He is the author of two books in Greek: Towards the Technology of Art (2012) and Distractive Infinity (2017, both by Plethron, Athens).
Published on March 21, 2017.
 Jean-François Lyotard,
“The Sublime and the Avant-Garde,” Inhuman:
Reflection on Time, transl. by J. Bennington and R. Bowlby (Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1990), pp. 89-107;
Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Or the
Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, (London & New York: Verso, 1992);
specifically, pp. 34-49.
 Mario Costa, Le
sublime technologique, (Lausanne: Iderive, 1990); Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power and
Cyberspace, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).
Gilbert-Rolfe, "The Visible Post-Human in the Technological Sublime,"
Beauty and Contemporary Sublime, (New
York: Allworth Press, 1999), pp. 125-144.
 Douglas Craig,
“Radio, Modern Communication Media and the Technological Sublime,” The Radio Journal, 6, 2-3 (2008),
129-143; Tim Edensor, “Light Art, Perception and Sensation,” The Senses and Society, 10, 2 (2015), 138-157.
 Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, ed.
by P. Guyer, translated by P. Guyer and E. Matthews, (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2002), p. 147.
 David Nye, American Techological Sublime,
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994), p. 27. Nye argues that “[a]s Kant proposed,
the experience of sublimity is based on a universal capacity for a certain kind
of emotion. But Americans nevertheless shaped this emotion to their situation
and needs” (p. 23). The issue of the technological sublime was not introducesd
by Nye, and he acknowledges his debt to several American Historians such as
Miller, Marx and Kasson; see Perry G. Miller, The Life and Mind in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War,
(New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1965); Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1964); John F Kasson, Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America,
1776-1990, (New York: Penguin, 1977).
Saint-Girons, Le sublime de l’Antiquité à nos jours, (Paris: Desjonquères, 2005).
 Longinus, "On
the Sublime," Aristotle, Poetics,
Longinus, On the Sublime, Demetrius, On style, (Cambridge, MA & London:
Harvard University Press (Loeb Classical Library, 1995) [On the sublime, translated by W. H. Fyfe], p. 277 (§ 35).
 Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, op. cit., p. 128 and
129. Kant will elaborate this when in the final sections of his Third Critique, where he makes the
distinction of “intentional technique” and “unintentional technique” in nature.
In the former, nature operates through a teleological technical condition that
culminates in human subjectivity. In the latter, the homology between natural
and human techniques is basically coincidental; see, Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, op. cit., pp. 253-255.
 Cf. Siegfried Zielinski, Deep Time of the
Media: Towards an Archeology of Seeing and Hearing by Technical Means,
(Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press: 2006).
 Gaston Bachelard, The
Poetics of Space, translated by M.
Jolas, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992).
 Jonathan Richardson,
An Essay on the Theory of Painting, (Menston:
Scholar Press, 1971).
 Jean-François Lyotard, “Presenting the Unpresentable: The Sublime,” Artforum, 20 (1982), 64-69.
 Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, op. cit., p. 142.
 Arnold Berleant,
“Art, Terrorism and The Negative Sublime,” Contemporary
Aesthetics, 7 (2009), Section 3, ¶ 5.
 Jean-François Lyotard,
Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime,
translated by E. Rottenberg, (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994),
 Walter Benjamin,The Work of Art in
the Age of its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writing on Media,
ed. by M. Jennings, B. Doherty and T. Y. Levin, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 2008), pp. 39-40.
 Petra Löffler, “Bodies
of Distraction,” in B. M. Pirani & T. S. Smith (eds), Body and Time: Bodily Rhythms and Social Synchronism in the Digital
Media Society, (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), pp. 8-20; Steward Simon, “Aesthetics
and Time: Distracted and Sustained Modes of Engagement,” Cultural Sociology 9, 2 (2015), 147-161.
 Félix Ravaisson,
Of Habit, translated and commented by
C. Carlisle and M.Sinclair, preface by C. Malabou, (London: Continuum, 2008).
 Friedrich Schiller,
“Über das Erhabene,” in Werke
und Briefe, vol. 8, (Frankfurt: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 2002), p. 835
(translation by the author).
 Josef Früchtl,
“New Grand Narratives– The Metaphysical Worldview of Avatar and Cloud Atlas,” Contemporary Aesthetics, Special Volume
5: Contemporary Perspective on Film and
 Ιna Goy
& Eric Watkins, Kant’s Theory of
De Gruyter, 2014).
 Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, ed. and transl. by R.
Hullot-Kentor, (London & New York: Continuum, 2002), pp. 197-198.
author wishes to express his gratitude to the two anonymous reviewers for their
time and recommendations on this paper. Some thoughts were also born out of
discussions with Professor Manthos Santorineos and the students of the graduate
program “Art and Virtual Reality” at the Athens School of Fine Arts.