As Sylvia Wynter suggested nearly three decades ago, a radical rethinking of the category of aesthetics is a crucial, if woefully neglected, task for all of us who have been given to the refusal of modern catastrophe. This conversation between Denise Ferreira da Silva, Rizvana Bradley, Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar (of the Otolith Group), Jota Mombaça, and Gabi Ngcobo coincides with an experimental collaboration between Da Silva and Bradley, “Four Theses on Aesthetics,” published in the September issue of e-flux.
Building upon Bradley’s inquiries into the racially gendered labor concealed within the putatively autonomous totality of the work of art, and upon Da Silva’s critique of the modern principles of “separability, determinacy, and sequentiality,” Da Silva and Bradley’s essay deconstructs the framework of aesthetic judgement that has predominated since Immanuel Kant. Endeavoring to rethink the relationship of the aesthetic to the organization of the modern world, “Four Theses on Aesthetics” sketches the contours of an alternative theory of Blackness, aesthetics, and the work of art.
This Sojourner Project session on aesthetics enters into the fray of these difficult problematics as a point of speculative departure, in the hope of collectively contributing to the ongoing dissolution of the boundaries between philosophy, artistic experimentation, and abolitionist praxis.