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Conferenza ART - Lorenzo Bartalesi

Martedì 17 maggio 2022 ore 18:00
Pubblicato: Lunedì 9 maggio 2022 da Alessandro Giovanni Bertinetto

ART (Aesthetics Research Torino) Philosophical Seminar 

Prof. Lorenzo Bartalesi

(Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

Discussant: Prof. Adam Andrzejewski (University of Warsaw)


May, 17. h 6 pm

Università di Torino, Palazzo Nuovo, Aula 5




Experiencing agency: aesthetic cognition and modes of existence of cultural artefacts. The case of the Northwest Coast transformation masks

It is evident that artefacts agency is largely responsible for the cultural coherence and distinctiveness of a social group. It is also evident that the efficacy of artefact agency remains always tied to specific cognitive processing of the individual but situated minds that activate it. The talk aims to integrate the theoretical reformulation that, since Alfred Gell, has involved material culture studies, with a consideration of the individual implementation of the agency as a specific perceptual, emotive, and cognitive experience. More specifically it is intended to show that, in order to understand how cultural artefacts create presence and exercise agency, it is necessary to investigate the relationship between the plurality of cognitive styles resulting from the plasticity of human cognition, the variety of modes of ontological identification, and the several pragmatic ways of enacting the stylistic and material qualities of artefacts. This theoretical perspective will be explored through a case study: the Northwest Coast transformation masks. These artefacts exhibit in an exemplary way a specific form of agency that takes place in animistic context on the basis of a divergent and polyphonic cognitive style that we could define as aesthetic. While the analysis of animist ontology will allow us to address some issues related to a specific form of material agency - the living presence response -, the emphasis on aesthetics will lead us to investigate under a new light the question of enchantment as a crucial dimension of the expressiveness of artefacts.

Lorenzo Bartalesi is Associate Professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. After studying in Florence and Frankfurt am Main, he defended his doctoral thesis at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. He was a Junior Fellow at the Institut d'études avancées d'Aix-Marseille Université (IMéRA) and a Visiting Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge. From 2016 to 2018, he was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at EHESS Paris with the research project Enacting heritage: The aesthetic dynamics of cultural transmission. In his research and publications, Lorenzo Bartalesi is committed to restoring aesthetics as a complex cognitive and behavioural phenomenon to a central place in human evolution. He participated in establishing and developing the “Anthropology of aesthetics", a transdisciplinary field of study concerned with the role of the aesthetic in the processes of creation and transmission of knowledge, practices, beliefs, representations and institutions. His publications include the volumes Histoire naturelle de l’esthétique (Paris 2021), Antropologia dell'estetico (Milano 2017) and the articles Aesthetic preferences: An evolutionary approach (2016), From the aesthetic mind to the human cultures (2019) and In un mondo al di là dell'umano. Modelli ecologici per un'antropologia del vivente (2020). Horizon 2020 Expert evaluator, he is also Associate editor of the journal "Aisthesis" and member of the editorial board of the "Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia"





ART (Aesthetics Research Torino) is a periodic philosophical seminar organized by the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences of the University of Turin and the PhD Program FINO.


Prof. Alessandro Bertinetto (University of Turin). 

Prof. Federico Vercellone (University of Turin). 



Prof. Carlo Serra (University of Turin/University of Calabria)

Dr. Alberto Martinengo (University of Turin)

Dr. Paolo Furia (University of Turin)

Dr. Lisa Giombini (University Rome 3)

Dr. Gregorio Tenti (FINO Doctoral School

Dr. Francesca Perotto (FINO Doctoral School)

Dr. Francesca Monateri (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

Dr. Ivan Quartesan (FINO Doctoral School)

Dr. Amalia Salvestrini (LEM, Paris)

Dr. Leonardo Pietropaolo (Università di Torino)



ART addresses different topics of the contemporary debate in Aesthetics: philosophy of beauty, philosophy of the arts, theory of sensory experience, philosophy of image and imagination, and history of aesthetics.

ART is supported by:
Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sulla Morfologia Francesco Moiso (CIM)
Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale di Logica, Linguaggio e Cognizione (LLC)
Centro Studi Arti della Modernità

Centro Studi Filosofico-religiosi "Luigi Pareyson"


ART is sponsored by: 
Italian Society for Aesthetics (SIE) 
European Society for Aesthetics (ESA)



Ultimo aggiornamento: 16/05/2022 09:45
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