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Aesthesis and Perceptronium

On the Entanglement of Sensation, Cognition, and Matter

2019
Author:

Alexander Wilson

Aesthesis and Perceptronium

A new speculative ontology of aesthetics

In Aesthesis and Perceptronium, Alexander Wilson presents a theory of materialist and posthumanist aesthetics founded on an original speculative ontology that addresses the interconnections of experience, cognition, organism, and matter. Wilson argues for a rigorous redefining of the criteria that allow us to discriminate between those materials and objects where aesthesis (perception, cognition) takes place and those where it doesn’t.

Aesthesis and Perceptronium offers a nuanced engagement with science, technology, and art that is otherwise largely missing from contemporary debates, exploring the significance of aesthetics in the aftermath of neomaterialist and nonrepresentational theories of perception, cognition, and intelligence.

Luciana Parisi, Goldsmiths, University of London

In Aesthesis and Perceptronium, Alexander Wilson presents a theory of materialist and posthumanist aesthetics founded on an original speculative ontology that addresses the interconnections of experience, cognition, organism, and matter. Entering the active fields of contemporary thought known as the new materialisms and realisms, Wilson argues for a rigorous redefining of the criteria that allow us to discriminate between those materials and objects where aesthesis (perception, cognition) takes place and those where it doesn’t.

Aesthesis and Perceptronium negotiates between indiscriminately pluralist views that attribute mentation to all things and eliminative views that deny the existence of mentation even in humans. By recasting aesthetic questions within the framework of “epistemaesthetics,” which considers cognition and aesthetics as belonging to a single category that can neither be fully disentangled nor fully reduced to either of its terms, Wilson forges a theory of nonhuman experience that avoids this untenable dilemma.

Through a novel consideration of the evolutionary origins of cognition and its extension in technological developments, the investigation culminates in a rigorous reevaluation of the status of matter, information, computation, causality, and time in terms of their logical and causal engagement with the activities of human and nonhuman agents.
Aesthesis and Perceptronium

Alexander Wilson is a Canadian researcher with the Institute of Research and Innovation, Centre Pompidou, Paris. He is based in Berlin.

Aesthesis and Perceptronium

Aesthesis and Perceptronium offers a nuanced engagement with science, technology, and art that is otherwise largely missing from contemporary debates, exploring the significance of aesthetics in the aftermath of neomaterialist and nonrepresentational theories of perception, cognition, and intelligence.

Luciana Parisi, Goldsmiths, University of London

Aesthesis and Perceptronium

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Non-Human Aesthetics

1. Chaos and Cognition

2. Determinism and Drift

3. Aesthesis and Prosthesis

4. Superposition and Time

Conclusion: Aesthesia in the Wild

Notes

Index