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Vital Beauty

As defined by the great art writer John Ruskin more than 150 years ago, "vital beauty" denotes an aesthetic of "sympathies"--that is, a beauty that embodies and demonstrates affinity with sentience in all its forms. Ruskin effectively liberated beauty from classical perfectionism by envisaging a world of currents and forces, rather than immobile ideals, and by celebrating nature's abundant diversity. Today, this wonderful conception requires some rethinking, since sentience now encompasses technological as well as organic entities--raising the question of how we should design our environments, our objects and even our lives. In Vital Beauty, leading philosophers, anthropologists, theorists and artists Thierry Bardini, Joke Brouwer, Gustav Fechner, Mark Frost, George Gessert, Tim Ingold, Arjen Mulder, Daniel N. Stern, Lars Spuybroek, Caroline Van Eck, Wendy Steiner and Ruskin himself examine what this idea of beauty might mean for their respective disciplines.
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