Contemporary Aesthetics does not publish book reviews. However, to inform our readers of new publications of interest, we do publish brief descriptions extracted from information provided by the publishers. These notices do not necessarily represent the views or judgment of this journal. Readers are invited to send us such information about books they think will interest other readers of CA.
Jacques Rancière, The Time of the Landscape: On the Origins of the Aesthetic Revolution, translated by Emiliano Battista (Wiley, 2023), 120 pp.
The time of the landscape is not the time when people started describing gardens, mountains and lakes in poems or representing them in works of art: it is the time when the landscape imposed itself as a specific object of thought. It is the time when both the harmony of arranged gardens and the disharmony of wild nature led to a revolution in the criteria of the beautiful and in the meaning of the word “art.” It coincided with the birth of aesthetics, understood as a regime for shaping how art is seen and thought, and also with the French Revolution, understood as a revolution in the very idea of what binds together a human community. The time of the landscape is the time when the conjunction of these two upheavals brought into focus, however hazily, a common horizon: that of a revolution that no longer concerns only the laws of the state or the norms of art, but the very forms of sensible experience.
Repair: Sustainable Design Futures, edited by Markus Berger & Kate Irvin (Routledge, 2023), 288 pp.
A collection of timely new scholarship, Repair: Sustainable Design Futures investigates repair as a contemporary expression of empowerment, agency, and resistance to our unmaking of the world and the environment. Repair is an act, metaphor, and foundation for opening up a dialogue about design’s role in proposing radically different social, environmental, and economic futures.
Thematically expansive and richly illustrated, with over 125 visuals, this volume features an international, interdisciplinary group of contributors from across the design spectrum whose voices and artwork speak to how we might address our broken social and physical worlds. Organized around reparative thinking and practices, the book includes 30 long and short chapters, photo essays, and interviews that focus on multiple responses to fractured systems, relationships, cities, architecture, objects, and more.
Imperfectionist Aesthetics in Art and Everyday Life, edited by Peter Cheyne (Routledge, 2023), 412 pp.
This book presents interdisciplinary research on the aesthetics of perfection and imperfection. Broadening this growing field, it connects the aesthetics of imperfection with issues in areas including philosophy, music, literature, urban environment, architecture, art theory, and cultural studies.
The contributors to this volume argue that imperfection has value in being open and inclusive. The aesthetics of imperfection is typified by organic, unpolished production and the avoidance of perfect finish, instead representing living and natural change, and opposing the consumerist concern with the flawless and pristine. The chapters are divided into seven thematic sections. After the first section, on imperfection across the arts and culture, the next three parts are on imperfection in the arts of music, visual and theatrical arts, and literature. The second half of this book then moves to categories in everyday life and branches this further into body, self, and the person, and urban environments. Together, the chapters promote a positive ethos of imperfection that furthers individual and social engagement and supports creativity over mere passivity.