The Paradoxality of Humanity

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The Paradoxality of Humanity


“Man is the only being who consciously refers to its existence”, and in the context of the philosophy of existence if we continue with Sartre’s thinking about human freedom in terms of personal choice, choosing opportunities and taking responsibility for events and the risk to human existence, the conclusion or contradiction of the meaninglessness or absurdity of human existence is drawn, which is often confirmed in many examples throughout the history of mankind.

An essential continuity to the theory of existentialism and its absurdity is the question of relevance of the opposition of GOOD versus EVIL. Numerous scientists, philosophers, theorists, theologians, psychologists, biologists have tried to get into the essence of this dichotomy and whether we actually carry both parts of the “apple” within us by the nature of our existence. Which side of the bivalent whole will prevail depends on the mental and psychophysical composition of our mind, but also to a large extent on the environment, i.e. on the socio-political system that consciously or unconsciously bridges the “cable” and from the moral and ethical new-born individuals creates “monsters” ready to destroy, kill, fight, commit genocide. “Man first exists, meets himself, ascends into the world – and then defines himself.”[1] On the other hand, this definition of oneself, if in confrontation with the world surrounding one, projects the concept of the absurdity of existence.[2] 

Another platform that is crucially associated to the occasion for this essay is the coinage of “paradoxical ugliness” which refers to the aesthetics of the ugly, the evil, the unpleasant. Aesthetics as a word, in its etymology is associated with beauty and pleasant feelings. The opposition to the beautiful is the ugly, which as an aesthetic category according to the dichotomy, would cause unpleasant feelings, pain, suffering, and as an aesthetic value would be worthless and unimportant. But in contemporary art and contemporary aesthetics this is not the case i.e., when Karl Rosenkrantz gives a special place to the aesthetics of the ugly as a separate value and meaning that celebrates the “beauty” of, let’s not use the word ugly, but the different autonomous. Hence it does not deal with pure formality but with deeper conceptual and intellectual meanings. “We cannot see beauty as innocent,” writes the philosopher Kathleen Marie Higgins, when “the sublime radiance of a mushroom accompanies moral evil.” Debates gain strength as the world changes, while the meanings “beautiful” and “ugly” slip and move. Victor Hugo offered an interesting view of ugliness when he wrote that “beautiful” is “only the form considered in its simplest aspect”, while “ugly” is “a detail of the great whole that escapes us and is in harmony, not with man, but with all creation.”

Trauma and wounded landscapes; for “Landscape Experience”

If ghosts unsettle time, then landscape measures time. Landscape is a record of time––it holds history and “remembers” it materially.

–– Patricia Keller, Ghostly Landscapes 

The initial reflections on the essential theoretical foundations of the relation existence, absurdity, good-evil, beautiful-ugly… are an introduction to the very complex visual and conceptual context of the multimedia project “Landscape Experience” by Robert Jankuloski and Monika Moteska, national representative to the 59th Venice Biennale. “Landscape

Experience” includes multiple media platforms such as video installations, objects and photos. Abandoned, devastated and wounded landscapes, placed in a new context, with new layers of meaningful and discursive transcription are the foundation of the project. In their work so far, these two authors in numerous independent projects, have actualised the issue of “injured landscapes” through aesthetics and poetics of beauty in various ways all the while trying to express their revolt and cry against the social irresponsibility and hegemonic policies of the government that don’t concern themselves with the public good but instead use the parameters of the ugly, the inhuman, the evil, the envious, the tasteless, they destroy nature, the environment, the living world, pollute the air, but also kill, create wars or conceive mechanisms and enable mass genocide. Shared experiences of vulnerability are synonymous with everyday reality and a method of aesthetic expression.

[1]   Sartre, Jean-Paul «Existentialism is a Humanism, Jean-Paul Sartre 1946». Retrieved 2010-03-08.

[2]   Wartenberg, Thomas (2009). Existentialism: A Beginner’s Guide. Oxford: One World. ISBN 9781780740201.

AuthorAna Frangovska
2023-06-08T11:41:53+00:00 June 6th, 2023|Categories: Reviews, Gallery, Blesok no. 150|Comments Off on The Paradoxality of Humanity