Atopia & Aesthetics. A Modal Perspective

Yves Millet
Contemporary Aesthetics
Volume 11 - 2013
ISSN : 1932-8478
Rhode Island School of Design. USA
Arnold Berleant Editor

Abstract :

Living in an era where global exchanges of forms and ideas are the norm raises some questions about the status of artistic practices. To explore these questions, we use Roland Barthes’ notion of atopia and the complementary yet related notion of Neutral on which Barthes commented in his later years. Atopia highlights the fact that rather than viewing current artistic activities as searches for homogenous identity, we need to view them as belonging to plural communities of practices offering modal and qualitative distinctions. We suggest that adopting this perspective sheds light on the capacity of any individual to act creatively within his or her daily life. Before considering this last point, we will explore how adopting an atopic perspective helps to throw light on the relation between aesthetics and politics.


art, atopia, Roland Barthes, identity, the Neutral, plurality, politics