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