The sublime is a concept with a long philosophical history. It was particularly popular in the 18th century, in the thought of philosophers like Burke, Kant, and Rousseau. It was also central to Romanticism, which was rooted in a fascination for overwhelming, terrifying nature. But how are we to interpret the concept today? Genuine, unspoiled nature is become ever scarcer. And the terrifying aspect appears to lie more in the destructive human impact on nature.
In her performance, Ivana Müller questions whether we are gradually heading for the sublime experience of our own disappearance. Annie Dorsen wonders whether ‘a new sublime’ might be found in the new, manmade, infinite digital space. And Bruno Latour claims that the sublime view of our blue marble from space has lost its initial power and should be replaced by a view from within.
The focus opens with a screening of A Philosophers Walk on the Sublime, a short film by American filmmaker Leslie Thornton, and a conversation between philosopher Miriam Rasch (author of Zwemmen in de oceaan: berichten uit een postdigitale wereld) and sociologist Rudi Laermans (KU Leuven).