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Accepted Paper:

Aesthetic Forms & Aesthetic Functions: A Non-Relational Approach to Art & Ritual  
Adam Bobeck (University of Leipzig)

Paper short abstract:

This paper approaches ritual studies through the lens of Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO). I examine Shi'i Azadari rituals in Leipzig, Germany over 4 years. By comparing ritual & art, I argue that they are irreducible to their form, content, and function.

Paper long abstract:

This paper approaches ritual studies through the lens of Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO). The central argument of OOO is that objects are in a tense relationship with their qualities. This withdrawal of objects from their accidental and essential qualities opens to the door to theoretically analyzing how rituals and artworks are in loose relationships with their form, content, and function.

Based on four years of fieldwork of Shi'i Azadari rituals in Germany, I have found that Azadari occurs not only behind closed doors in a backyard Husayniya, but it also ontologically withdraws behind its relational qualities.

I therefore challenge relationism in ritual studies and art studies. I turn to Walter Benjamin's concept of the "aura" and show Benjamin offers one non-relational approach to art and ritual. Ultimately, I argue that by rethinking artworks and rituals through non-relationality, it becomes possible to reconceive what role form, content, and function have for rituals and artworks.

Panel P165a
Engaging with aesthetic forms: Approaching the sociopolitical embedding and agency of arts [AntArt network]
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -