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Appel de conférences Dr. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe



Bonjour!
Permettez ce message en anglais de la Société internationale pour 
l'étude des idées européennes à ses assises de Norvège en août 2000.

Dear Colleagues,

The ISSEI (International Society for the Study of European Ideas)
Conference:

Approaching a New Millennium: Lessons from the Past - Prospects for the Future

will take place in Bergen, Norway, from the 14th to 18th August 2000.

For further details on Programme, Registration and Accommodation, see
http://www.uib.no/issei2000/

At this conference I will chair a workshop on The Future of Beauty in the
Arts and Literature

Much of  what is going on in the arts and in literature is not what I would
call beautiful. I find the heritage of realism and naturalism of the 19th
century problematic if it inspires yet another delving into the abyss of
human psychopathology. To argue with German theatre director Gründgens: it
is eminently easy to write, direct, and perform in such a way that it is
ugly, or that it causes a scandal. Gründgens' words about the theatre are
true also for the other arts and literature. This is a personal, subjective
view, and there is a problem here, which boils down to the catch phrase
"beauty is in the eyes of the beholder": beauty is somehow intangible, very
subjective, beyond objective (and that means, scientific) means of gaining
knowledge which dominate, and are thus favoured by, the current (western)
mind-set.

This mind-set, however, shows indications of change: in the booming debate
on human consciousness, for example, an Internet-based seminar, extending
over two weeks, and generating some 500 pages of text in printout, was
specifically devoted to establishing ways of dealing scientifically with the
subjective realm of the emotions, and there is basic research into
neurophysiological correlates of beauty (i.e., changes of neurophysiological
parameters when a subject is shown pictures deemed beautiful or not by the
experimenters). Research has also shown that regarding the beauty of faces,
universal patterns seem to exist: statistically speaking, we tend to agree
overall whether a face shown to us at random is beautiful or not,
independent of our own age, gender, race, culture, etc., or that of the
individuals on the photos.

Common sense would suggest that although beauty is predominantly associated
with things we see, it is not limited to that one sense, or sensual
experience altogether. We may well describe sounds as beautiful (classical
music, for example), or the smell or taste of a favourite meal, or the touch
of a specific fabric. For some of those, most languages have developed more
sense-specific terms, such a delicious for taste, but the ultimate
characteristic implied by those terms is the same. Intellectual stimulation
can be called beautiful, or the creative acts, say, of writing a paper, a
poem, or play, or of composing, painting, etc. Beyond all those manifest
objects of beauty, Plato would locate the form of beauty, beauty as such. It
is beauty itself, of itself, with itself, uniform, and of eternal being. All
expressions of beauty have part in this form of beauty, and all expressions
of beauty exist to enable the direct experience of the form of beauty, as
the ultimate goal.

Is Plato's philosophy relevant for us today, does it have a role in the
future? In the workshop at the conference, I want to provide a broad basis
for a thorough reassessment of the European traditions of beauty in the arts
(fine arts, performing arts, media arts), and in literature, not as a return
to some distant, and allegedly ideal past, but as a constructive means of
realising the potential of the arts for the 21st century.

I would like to invite interested contributors to submit an abstract of not
more than one page. Deadline: 1 April 2000




***************************************************************
Dr. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
University of Wales Aberystwyth
1 Laura Place, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 2AU, UK
Tel. ++44 1970 622835 Fax ++44 1970 622831 email: dam@aber.ac.uk