Dawn of a New Feeling: The Neocontemplative Condition
15 April 2022
Computers have become omnipresent in recent decades, affecting all aspects of modern life and influencing creative pursuits in art, architecture, music, and film. One consequence of this seemingly irreversible trend is its effect on the perception of the aesthetic object, and indeed of nature itself.Dawn of a New Feeling acknowledges that computers have become a formidable tool for creating new and entertaining art forms, while contending that virtual reality is not conducive to meditations on the aesthetic object. Virtual or augmented reality, Raffaele Milani argues, is illusory and blunts the viewer’s capacity for feeling a genuine connection with a work of art. First describing how modernity and post-modernity are entangled with virtual reality, engendering linguistic and anthropological confusion in which art seems to have lost its meaning, Milani then contrasts these developments with classical art forms and reflects on the ways in which traditional art objects stimulate an appreciation of nature, which, upon contemplation, appears as an aesthetic object itself. The saturation of our culture by mass media, he argues, can give rise to a renewed desire to experience a more intimate communication with nature.By identifying reading, contemplation, and care for nature as activities that help us to escape the mental atrophy of a web-dominated world and find refuge from the chaos of virtual mediation, Dawn of a New Feeling offers a reinterpretation of contemplative approaches to appreciating aesthetics and to understanding the profound nature of artistic vision.