Sublime, Race, Racialization: Formalisation, Necessity, Contingency


  • Jovita Pristovšek


sublime, race, racialization, formalization, necessity, contingency


If we speak about the sublimity of financial markets nowadays, this is mostly because we can already gaze into the contemporary version of ruins of (ambiguous) crises of capitalism and crisis politics, that left behind themselves desolated (social) landscapes, in which the absence of the human and of labor (read: gazing into the posthuman and at the emancipation within nonhuman terrain) once again testifies to a kind of sublimity. And from the historical point of view the revitalization of the discourse of (Cassius Longinus) sublime is situated precisely into a genealogy of treatises drawing the border between human and nonhuman, between society and nature. Thus, the sublime could only rise over not (yet) cultivated nature (while sovereignty could only rise over the cultivated one). Following from Longinus' most efficient sublime effect, when it functions as a hidden figure of speech, my field of interest will be predominantly a genealogy of race within the regime of aesthetics, from Edmund Burke's and Immanuel Kant's conceptualizations of aesthetics of the sublime, up until recent debates within contemporary aesthetics about subject-less experience and experience-less subject. This genealogy will serve as a display of procedure by which and since then the content (unrepresentable, race, terror) could be represented only in a certain way (as necessity), which led to a kind of asceticism (i.e. to formalism and immaterial), even more, to a return to objectnessless, which once again testifies to an encounter with the figure of silence, and with contingency.

Author Biography

Jovita Pristovšek

Academy of Visual Arts, Ljubljana

Jovita Pristovšek, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) in Ljubljana, where she has been teaching since 2009. She holds an MA in Fine Arts from The Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the postgraduate program at SRC SASA (Ljubljana, Slovenia) on the topic of contemporary regimes of the aesthetic, public, and political that she completed under the supervision of Marina Gržinić in 2017.


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How to Cite

Pristovšek, J. (2017). Sublime, Race, Racialization: Formalisation, Necessity, Contingency. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (14), 45–56. Retrieved from