Powerful and influential voices in the early 20th century, mainly from the European and American Left, were criticizing the institutional status of "aesthetic autonomy" as a pathological situation and proposing, as a utopian horizon, a fusion between the everyday and aesthetics. Today, in contrast, we are more impressed by the idea of a profound incompatibility between aesthetic experience, on the one side, and everyday life, on the other. This conviction, according to which a difficult-to-achieve exception brings together aesthetic experience and everyday life, is the starting-point for a threefold distinction that this essay will develop. This distinction enumerates three different types of situations in which aesthetic experience can occur under everyday conditions: there are, in the first place, those cases where aesthetic experience seems to impose itself, interrupting the undramatic flow of the everyday; there are, at the opposite end of a range of possibilities, situations where a longstanding familiarity with an object ends up turning into an aesthetic experience; finally, there are those cases where a change of the situational framework under which we experience the everyday seems to occur "behind our back," thus opening up the possibility of aesthetic experience.


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pp. 299-318
Launched on MUSE
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