A Book Review of Mario Perniola. Über das Fühlen. Translated by Sabine Schneider. Berlin: Merve, 2009
A Book Review by Pablo Markin.
This German translation of Mario Perniola’s (2002) Del Sentire brings his philosophical inquiry into feeling as an aesthetic category to the German speaking audience.1 Furthermore, it puts into a single volume writings that have been dispersed across several different English-language volumes, such as Extreme Beauty: Aesthetics, Politics, Death (2003) edited by James Swearingen and Joanne Cutting-Gray that explores interconnections between aesthetics and philosophy.2
Indeed, in this book, Perniola’s aim is to reclaim the notion of feeling from its conventional conceptions for the purposes of aesthetic analysis that does away with subject-oriented categories in favor of feeling as an impersonal experience that by eliding the philosophical distinction between the notions of subject and object recovers by the same token the uncanny aspect of feeling as an experience per se occurring not so much in the inter-subjective space between the sensing subject and the aesthetic intentions of the artist, writer or composer, but in the inter-objective field of sensible intensities that obtain between individuals as sensing objects and the inanimate subjects of their perceptions, while thereby reversing the locus of aesthetic apperception from the theoretically hypothesized subject to the physically felt object.3 This also endows sensual perception with the aesthetic status independent of the Enlightenment categories that have historically governed aesthetic theory.
Perniola arrives at this perspective via an archeology of philosophical, sociological, economic, political and cultural thought, such as crystallized in the notions of Max Weber’s bureaucracy, Karl Marx’s ideology and Giambattista Vico’s sense. This also allows Perniola to perform a diagnostic reading of the present period of the aestheticization of everyday life that combines the bureaucratic management of everyday experiences with a psychology-aided optimization of individual-level reactions, such as through media spectacles, that effectively pre-program feeling.
In this respect, Mario Perniola’s radical disquisition on the phenomenon and notion of feeling represents a post-structural line of flight that seeks to uncover the foundations of aesthetic sensations in machine-like, object-oriented and depersonalized experiences that escape the mechanisms of social and cultural manipulation.
This makes Perniola’s thought relevant to cultural, urban and art studies, as Paula Cristina Moreira da Silva Pereira and Fernando Manuel Brandão Alves’ critique of urbanity demonstrates.4
Featured Image Credits: Esprit Urbain.I | City Spirit.I – #DH593 Post-traitement | Post-processing, February 8, 2015 | © Courtesy of Didier Hannot Photography.
- Perniola, Mario. Del Sentire. Torino: Einaudi, 2002.
- Swearingen, James, and Joanne Cutting-Gray. Extreme Beauty: Aesthetics, Politics, Death. Textures. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003.
- Perniola, Mario. Über das Fühlen. Translated by Sabine Schneider. Berlin: Merve, 2009.
- Paula Cristina Moreira da Silva Pereira e Fernando Manuel Brandão Alves, « The Eulogy of Urbanity », Cultura [Online], Vol. 28 | 2011, posto online no dia 09 Maio 2013, consultado a 09 Junho 2017. URL : http://cultura.revues.org/277 ; DOI : 10.4000/cultura.277