Aesthetic Dividuations in a Globalized Art World

Michaela Ott


As a professor of philosophy in the art academy of Hamburg, I deal with contemporary art practices; as a theorist of aesthetics I try to determine what kind of aesthetic and artistic developments seem to be significant for our times, and which kind of philosophical theories I can offer in order to better conceptualize and understand the given art productions. At the same time, I attempt to transcend contemporary tendencies and concepts and to foster students’ art practices in a way that makes them meaningful for the future.

This lecture seeks to provide a possible interpretation of actual art practices in a globalized world, reflecting also on big art exhibitions such as Documenta 14 and on African films. It sketches a specific aesthetic program called Afropolitanism as an understanding which could be conceived of as paradigmatic for our globalized times. Afropolitanism is a term coined by the South African theorist Achille Mbembe in one of his 2010 book Sortir de la grande nuit. Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisé. Starting from there I want to offer a philosophical concept that goes far beyond the European context and hopes to provide a possible conceptual frame for a more complex understanding of the culturally and artistically entangled and hybridized expressions of our days, including those of human subjectivation. I call this concept dividuation as I have explained further in my book Dividuations: Theories of Participation, which was published in English in 2018.


Article received: December 15, 2019; Article accepted: January 31, 2029; Published online: April 15, 2020; Original scholarly paper

How to cite the article: Ott, Michaela. "Aesthetic Dividuations in a Globalized Art World." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 21 (2020): 1-11. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i21.356


dividuation; participation; contemporary art practices; Afropolitanism; African films; composite-cultural expressions; big art exhibitions.

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