Aesthetics (i) (2015/2016)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Giorgio Franck
Giorgio Franck
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Semestrino IIA, Semestrino IIB

Lesson timetable

Semestrino IIA
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  
Friday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  
Semestrino IIB
Day Time Type Place Note
Monday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  
Friday 3:40 PM - 5:20 PM lesson Lecture Hall 1.3  

Learning outcomes

Our aim in the course is to examine the meaning of arts in actual medial context and in relation to its technological instruments (with particular reference to cinema and, mostly, to photography).
Modern technology has produced a deep transformation of traditional frames which theoretically define artistic processes. At the centre of such a change, whose primordial symptoms are visible in the XIX century – in Baudelaire’s time and in the metropolitan space of Paris –, we must place what Benjamin calls “Aura’s destruction”, which put in question the idea of authenticity. Starting from Benjamin’s analysis, we shall follow its developments – in new and different perspectives – into Roland Barthes’s reflections on photography and Jean Baudrillard’s analysis about art – and its connection to photography – in the context of actual post-modern condition.


Course’s contents: Optical machines before cinema’s invention. – The phantasmagoria. – The “performance” of commodity. – Baudelaire: art and the great town. – Benjamin: Aura’s decay. – Mass culture and technical reproduction. – Religious value and exhibition value of art. – Film cutting. – Benjamin and Pirandello: theatre, cinema and the actor’s body. – The optical unconscious. – The shock. – Fruition and inattention. – Photographic portrait and aura’s survival. – “Destroying character” and photography: Atget. – Wreckage’s aesthetics. – Barthes: serial reproduction and singularity. – To indicate and to symbolize. – Photography as a “transparent” sign. – The “savage sight”. – The word and the image. – “Intractable reality”. – “It has been”. – The punctum. – Baudrillard: the end of reality and simulacra’s society. –The “perfect crime” – Visibility and transparency: the obscenity. – Trans-aesthetics (between Duchamp and Warhol). – Art and “art’s death” in technological era. – Illusion and reality. – The other scene. – Photography and the silence of the world. – The “disappearance” of the photograph.

Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination