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Die Schönen Dinge

Über Ästhetik und Alltagserfahrung

Liessmann, Konrad Paul

Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Bd. 54 (2009), Iss. 2: S. 11–22

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Liessmann, Konrad Paul


When we talk about making the everyday world more aesthetically pleasing, we generally mean all attempts to enrich daily life with art, design and aesthetic aspects. But there also is a certain aesthetic dimension to the banality of daily life. In the first part of the essay, I suggest that two aspects dominate aesthetics in daily life: Beauty is in everyday life either short-term and peripheral or is that to which we are used and which is omnipresent. Either it is surprising but ungraspable or it is always with us but has long since lost its allure. In both cases it does not result in a strong aesthetic experience but in short-term aesthetic sensitivities that alternate between excitement and boredom, interest and disinterest, attention and ignorance. In the second part of the essay I examine what it means if demanding aesthetic and artistic concepts are confronted with everyday life. Art can either be seen as interrupting daily life or can be integrated into the ordinary. Then art must follow the rules of the ordinary and can only be perceived as peripheral. Still, beauty emerges as a decisive category in the aesthetics of everyday living.