What kind of things are damaged art-objects? Are they junk, trash, mere stuff? Or do they remain art by virtue of their distinguished provenance or still discernible design? What kind of powers do such things have as material bodies and forces? Instead of attempting to locate proper concepts for salvaged art-things, this essay, from a perspective centered on the power of bodies-in-encounter – where “power” in Spinoza’s sense is the capacity to affect and be affected – attempts to home in on the presence of a material vibrancy in the hope of better understanding the postures, reactions, and comportments that damaged art pieces inspire as we engage with them. This article proposes that even so-called “inanimate” things convey specific degrees of animacy even if not all of them qualify under the biological definition of life.
salvaged art, vital materialism, Spinoza, animacy, conatus
Jane Bennett, “Encounters with an Art-Thing,” Evental Aesthetics 3, no. 3 (2015): 91-110.