Aesthetic Perfection in Philosophy and Film Theory: A Brief Conceptual History


4:30pm  — 5:30pm


Red Room, STU 0129
The Philosophy Society proudly presents:
 Aesthetic Perfection in Philosophy and Film Theory: A Brief Conceptual History
A lecture by Nicholas Baer
Collegiate Assistant Professor; Humanities
The University of Chicago
Society of Fellows in Liberal Arts
As Hito Steyerl has observed, the concept of perfection has enormous currency in today’s digital economy, where the high-resolution image functions as a commodity fetish. While Steyerl defends the “imperfect” or “poor” moving image as an antidote to hegemonic media structures, I demonstrate that perfection itself has hardly been stable or unequivocal in its meanings across the history of philosophy and film theory. Offering a brief conceptual history from the ancients up to Adorno, I argue that cinema challenged classical conceptions of aesthetic perfection and contributed to a modernist redefinition of the term for the age of industrial technologies. Furthermore, I highlight formal affinities between the process of film-making and the psychoanalytic account of perfectionism, whereby the uncompromising director becomes the figure of the perfectionist par excellence. 
Nicholas Baer is a scholar of film and media, critical theory, and intellectual history. He earned his BA in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Chicago and his MA and PhD in Film & Media from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory. Before joining the Society of Fellows, he was Visiting Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Philosophy at Purchase College, State University of New York. Bringing together multiple disciplines, his research examines the history and theory of moving-image media in relation to broader aesthetic and philosophical debates of the modern era.
Hosted by: Philosophy Society
Additional Information can be found at: https://purchase.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2857005

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