Aesthetics: Alternative to St. Augustine's coffee cup theory of art

My good friend, Brian McMillan passed along a lovely passage today. It is from Lars Iyer's book The Birth of Philosophy in Poetry: Blanchot, Char, Heraclitus. It's a nice alternative to the art object as a vehicle for carrying content theory.

"As for Heidegger, the experience of nature in question is linked to a certain experience of the origin. In The Space of Literature, Blanchot tells us that the work of art “is always original and at all moments a beginning” – it appears, first of all, to be “ever new, the mirage of the future’s inaccessible truth”: it shimmers before us, seeming to promise a truth that never finally arrives (The Space of Literature 229). Second, its novelty, this “new ‘now,’” he writes, “renews this ‘now’ which it seems to initiate”; welling up now, happening now, it disrupts the reigning order of experience. And third, Blanchot tells us, “it is the very old, frightfully ancient, lost in the night of time”; it precedes us, it is a thing of the past, but it returns, renewing our time and promising us a future (The Space of Literature 229). The original experience happens, as I will explain, as the happening of the work of art and in so doing, it remembers what is “forgotten” in the coming to presence of the real. The poem, by remembering, also renews our time by drawing on the future – not as the future that one might calculate or plan in advance, nor as the outcome of what is caused in the present, but what, from the perspective of plans and programmes, can only appear as a mirage."

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