Monday, December 14, 2015

Global Aesthetic Deed of the Year

Since 1997, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics has been awarding the Aesthetic Deed of the Year (in Finland). We have thus highlighted important aesthetic work made in art, city planning, architectural renovation, the media and other fields where aesthetics can make a difference. With the award, we aspire to foster discussion about aesthetics and its role in society.
The award is given to a person or community which has through its acts, products, or thoughts raised discussion about art, beauty, and aesthetic value. The recipient of the award is announced in the autumn seminar of the Society, in the beginning of December.

Starting from 2015, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics also awards a global version of the same prize. The recipient of the award in 2015 has been chosen by the secretary of the society, Harri Mäcklin. The award of the Global Aesthetic Deed of the Year 2015 is granted to

The Association of Art Museum Directors

for their “Protocols for Safe Havens for Works of Cultural Significance from Countries in Crisis.” The protocols provide guidelines for the preservation of museum collections under threat of destruction due to terrorism, conflict, or other threat in “safe havens” of other museums. The protocols are a significant contribution to the prevention of such atrocities we are witnessing in Syria and Iraq today. With these protocols the Association of Art Museum Directors also sends an important message of solidarity in the name of preserving our cultural and artistic heritage in troubling times. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Article of the Year 2015

Together with the newly formed Slovak Association for Aesthetics (SAA) the Finnish Society for Aesthetics has established a new annual award for the best article published in the field of aesthetics. The main goal is to highlight some of the good work in our business which easily goes unnoticed. We hope that at least one great article would every year find all the possible readers it deserves!

The article of the year 2015 is Eileen John’s “Meals, Art, and Artistic Value” (Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 2014, No. 2, 50th Anniversary Issue, pp. 254-268). In recent years, aesthetics has been infiltrated into topics like food, personal appearance and weather. In her article “Meals, Art, and Artistic Value”, Eileen John argues that meals are not works of art, but can have artistic value. She illustrates convincingly how meals can figure as a good example of why we need notions of artistic and aesthetic value and how our everyday life is affected by aesthetics. This makes the text relevant not just for people excited about eating and dining, but also for aesthetic research.

The award was chosen by Veera Launis (Finnish Society of Aesthetics) and Michaela Pastekova (Slovak Association for Aesthetics).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lenni - C'est moi, and other perspectives on freedom

Yrjö Hirn, the first internationally acclaimed Finnish aesthetician (1870-1952), was born on December 7. As a hommage to Hirn, The Finnish Society for Aesthetics organizes its annual seminar as close as possible to this date. This year the seminar (in Finnish) was held December 3rd in the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki.

Two members of the board, Harri Mäcklin and Pajari Räsänen had chosen the title Freedom and Radical Responsibility (Vapaus ja radikaali vastuu). The speakers were Marko Gylén, Pirkko Holmberg, Martta Heikkilä and Teemu Mäki (in the picture). Marko Gylén analyzed the way the racist troll wing of the Finns Party has been using the concept 'freedom of speech' to defend its discourse. Pirkko Holmberg lectured on Friedrich Schiller as a philosopher of freedom. Martta Heikkilä discussed artistic freedom in various ways. Teemu Mäki defended freedom of speech, even hate speech, and raised intensive reactions. We had a good audience, as always. The speakers received constructive criticism.

As every year, this was also a date for prizes. The oldest of them (1997) is The Aesthetic Deed of the Year (local prize). This year it went to Timo Santala and his project Minäkin olen Lenni. A mother of a 4 year old boy wrote a note in the social media which became famous. She described how much critique, prejudices and negative comments her son had received just following his interest in pink, Hello Kitty and figure skating. The story was sad, and activist Timo Santala, who is famous for inventing the restaurant day, decided to put up a solidarity page in the social media. Minäkin olen Lenni, which translates to I am Lenni too, raised a lot of discussion about personal freedom. How can aesthetic taste become a reason for discrimination?

Last year the prize was given to choreographer Sonya Lindfors (jury: Veera Launis, Raine Vasquez) and the year before that to street painter Viva Granlund (jury: Sasha Huber, Max Ryynänen).

As every year, the society organized its annual meeting an hour before the seminar. No revolutionary decisions were made. But we intend to become even more active in the future - also internationally.

Max Ryynänen
Chair of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cooperation with the Slovak Association for Aesthetics

I visited Bratislava November 24-28 and had a good lunch chat with the head of the Slovak Association for Aesthetics, Michaela Pastekova. The Finnish Society has lately been interested to work more internationally and the quite fresh Slovak Society is the first one we really now try to create something together with. Soon coming up: our first nomination for the article of the year (international).


Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall seminar

The annual fall seminar of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics will be held (sadly only in Finnish) December 2, from 12 noon to 4 PM at Tieteiden talo (Kirkkokatu 6). The topic of this years seminar will be Freedom and Radical Responsibility (Vapaus ja Radikaali vastuu) and it will be organized by Pajari Räsänen and Harri Mäcklin. More information (in Finnish) soon on the webpages of the society. Speakers will include Pajari Räsänen, Teemu Mäki, Pirkko Holmberg, Martta Heikkilä and Marko Gylén.

After the seminar the Society will award the Aesthetic Deed of the Year (in Finland), the Global Aesthetic Deed of the Year and, in cooperation with the Slovak Association for Aesthetics, the Article of the Year in the Field of Aesthetics. In the evening the society will organize a christmas party together with Aistimus, the association for students of aesthetics.

Monday, June 29, 2015


This years ‘shadow conference’ of the International Association of Aesthetics, Revisions of Modern Aesthetics, took place in Belgrade (Serbia). There were a lot of participants especially from Europe and Asia. The conference was very well organized. The hyper active ‘paparazzi’ (can’t wait to see the pics), fancy coffee breaks (straws in the cups!), the fun restaurants we visited, without forgetting the good (but heavy) food... everything worked out well.

In a fashion typical for the IAA the conference atmosphere was relaxed. Many great papers were delivered. My own favorites were the animal-related talks by Katya Mandoki and Krystyna Wilkoszewska (in this session I thought for the first time that something is really starting to happen in this topic), Tyrus Miller’s surprising keynote on Paul Scheerbart’s architectural utopia and Zoltan Somhegyi’s talk on architectural decay (Learning from Detroit). But I must have missed dozens of papers – like all of us.

I represented the Finnish Society in the two meetings of the executive committee of the IAA. The biggest issue for the Finnish Society was that we were asked if we’d have interest to organize an IAA event. Finland has never organized a minor one (Lahti hosted a major conference in 1995), but sadly at least the next one should be organized 2018, and that’s the year when we are hosting the conference of the Nordic Society of Aesthetics. It would be too much work to organize two conferences during one summer. But who knows if 2021 would be possible?

Next year’s main conference in Seoul is entitled Aesthetics of Mass Culture. I am personally very happy about this, as my work has mainly focused on this topic.

Max Ryynänen, Chair of the Finnish Society for Aesthetics

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finnish-Russian Conference on Problems of Contemporary Aesthetics, Culture and Art


Helsinki, May 18–19, 2015, Aleksanteri Institute, Unioninkatu Street 33
“Negotiation Room” II Floor

Organised by Aleksanteri Institute, Aesthetics, University of Helsinki and Finnish Society for Aesthetics

MONDAY, May 18, 11 AM

Professor Markku Kivinen: Opening Words
Professor Arto Haapala: Opening Words
Docent, artist Kimmo Sarje: Dynamics of Stagnation – about the Congress
Professor Vadim Prozerskiy: M. Kagan: Biography and Synopsis of his Philosophical System
Docent A. Apykhtin: The Actuality of Kagan’s Aesthetic Ideas for Russian Philosophical Thought of the Second Half of the 20th Century
MA Vlada Müller: Living in Parallel Worlds: Art Criticism of Moisei Kagan and Ilya Kabakov


Professor E. N. Ustyugova: Die schöpferische Evolution M. Kagan im Kontext der sowjetischen Philosophie und der Ästhetik (Creative Evolution of M. Kagan’s Thought in the Context of Soviet Philosophy and Aesthetics)
Professor Tatiana Artemyeva: Moisei Kagan's Educational Rhetoric
Professor T. A. Akindinova:   M. Kagan als Kulturgeschichthistorik (M. Kagan as Historian of Culture)
MA Jukka Mallinen: The Stagnation Period and the Origin of the Moscow Conceptualism and Metarealism since 1977

TUESDAY, May 19, 11 AM

Docent, artist Kimmo Sarje: “My Art Goes Here!” Deconstructing Leninism
Docent A. E. Radeev: On the Concept of the Aesthetic Relation in Soviet Aesthetics
Docent Oiva Kuisma: An Overview of Marxist Aesthetics in Finland
Professor A. Gryakalov: System-Ästhetik und der Ästhetik der Ereignisse: die Dialogposition (The Aesthetics of a System and the Aesthetics of event: the Dialogue of Positions)


Post-Graduate Student Svetlana Martynova: The Artist and the Witness: the Problem of Expression
Doctor Hannu Eerikäinen: Die Konzeptualität als eine Form des Erhabenen


Docent I. Tretyakova: Synergetic Approach to the History of Culture
Docent, artist Jyrki Siukonen: The Problem with Abstractionism. Revisiting Kagan's Soviet Aesthetics

Panel Discussion

Monday, March 23, 2015

Aesthetics, Contemporaneity, Art (University of Århus)

Please check this link for information about the annual conference of the Nordic Society of Aesthetics. Topic: Aesthetics, Contemporaneity, Art (University of Århus).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Finnish Society for Aesthetics

The Finnish Society for Aesthetics functions as a co-operative forum for scholars, students and other people showing interest in aesthetics. The society aspires to develop research in aesthetics, to create contacts between arts and sciences, and to nourish discussions on aesthetic values. Membership is open to everyone interested in the society.