Editors Note: As we look forward to upcoming events in Belgrade Serbia, June 2015, and the next International Congress of Aesthetics to be held in Seoul, Korea, Summer 2016, it may be informative to review the conference report of the organizing committee of the centennial Congress entitled Aesthetics in Action that was held in Krakow, Poland last summer. This report was inadvertently omitted from IAA Newsletter #43 published in January 2014 and its belated inclusion here reminds us of the professionalism required to plan and execute our association’s related meetings. Sebastian Stankiewicz and Lilianna Bieszczad co-authored this Organizers Report.
After meetings in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Ankara, and Beijing, the International Congress of Aesthetics (ICA) returned to Europe for the first time in 21st century. Krakow, Poland was the site of the centennial Congress (19. ICA 2013) and its theme, Aesthetics in Action, emphasized the dynamic changes in the discipline of aesthetics.
The Congress was organized by Polish Society of Aesthetics, Jagiellonian University, and International Association for Aesthetics. Organizing an international event of this stature required the cooperation not only of Poland’s aesthetic circles and academic communities but also government institutions including the Ministry of the Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland, the Ministry of the Science and High Education Republic of Poland, and the Office of the Mayor of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski. The Honorary Committee included professors representing all of Poland’s aesthetic communities: Grzegorz Dziamski, Bohdan Dziemidok, Maria Go?aszewska, Leszek Koczanowicz, Teresa Kostyrko, Alicja Kuczy?ska, Iwona Lorenc, Teresa P?kala, Ewa Rewers, Piotr J. Przybysz, Tadeusz Szko?ut, Grzegorz Sztabi?ski, Irena Wojnar, and Anna Zeidler-Janiszewsk?. The Organizing Committee, under direction of Prof. Krystyna Wilkoszewska, directly participated in the preparations of all the many and varied the Congress events included: Rafa? Delekta (Academy of Music in Krakow), Antoni Porczak (Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow), Krzysztof Lenartowicz (Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko Krakow University of Technology), Alicja Panasiewicz (Pedagogical University of Krakow), Stanis?aw Hry? (Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University), and from the primary host institution Jagiellonian University, Jaros?aw Górniak, Micha? Bohun, Lilianna Bieszczad, Jakub Petri, Sebastian Stankiewicz and Ewa Chudoba.
International and intercultural atmosphere of the Congress assured the number of abstract submissions received would be high. There were over 500 submissions from 56 countries. Congress attendance was 460 which included aestheticians who presented their papers as well as participated in the Congress events.
The Opening Ceremony on June 22,2013 was held in the Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University. Guest and participants were welcome by the organizers and representatives of cooperating institutions: Rector of the Jagiellonian University Prof. Wojciech Nowak, President of the IAA Curtis L. Carter, President-Elect Prof. Gao Jianping, Dean of the Department of Philosophy of Jagiellonian University, Prof. Jaros?aw Górniak, President of the Polish Society of Aesthetics Prof. Krystyna Wilkoszewska, and Vice-Mayor of Krakow, Magdalena Sroka, s well as Vice-Rectors of Jagiellonian University, Prof. S. Kistryn and Prof. A. Mania, and members of the Honorary Committee. Rector of Jagiellonian University announced the Congress to be open, was followed by the Presidential Lecture of Curtis L. Carter entitled, Aesthetics and the Arts in Action. This theme continued in round table discussion: Past and Future of the ICAs – a Hundred Years. In the afternoon, the ceremony continued in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall, starting with Arnold Berleant’s plenary panel and culminating with the Inaugural Concert performed by Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk. During the concert there were presented two compositions arranged in one work: Aisthesis Symphony (2013) by Karol Nepelski and Ignacy Feliks Dobrzy?ski’s Overture to the opera Monbar (1838). The Opening Ceremony concluded with reception in Krakow City Hall, Wielopolski Palace, where participants were greeted by Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow. Jacek Majchrowski and Curtis L. Carter responded as representatives of the Congress.
The Organizing Committee formed several types of sessions including two new kinds of sessions: first innovation were plenary panels, organized by invited by the Committee scientists and secondly, panel sessions, which were submitted by participants. In addition, participants presented papers in sessions and there were numerous other round-table discussions as well as poster sessions. The most popular plenary panels highlighted the new important directions in the development of aesthetics. These panels were Arnold Berleant’s Aesthetic Engagement , Wolfgang Welsch’s Aesthetics Beyond Aesthetics, Richard Shusterman’s Somaesthetics, and Aleš Erjavec’s Aesthetics and Politics.
Other sessions and round-table discussions included: Past and Future of the ICAs – a Hundred Years, with chair: Aleš Erjavec (Slovenia) with Curtis L. Carter (USA), Gao Jianping (China), Miško Šuvakovi? (Serbia), Bohdan Dziemidok (Poland), Chong-hwan Oh (Korea), Arnold Berleant (USA), Zsolt Batori (Hungary). The second round-table discussion, Aesthetics in 20th Century Poland, included Polish representatives Zofia Rosi?ska and Krystyna Wilkoszewska, with participants from other countries including: Zdenka Kalnicka (Czech Republic), Gao Jianping (China) and Joseph Margolis (USA). The last discussion was accompanied by a publication of a great interest of Congress participants, presenting achievements of Polish aesthetics, 20th Century Aesthetics in Poland, Edited by Krystyna Wilkoszewska.
Particular interest attracted panel sessions. Among 20 submitted, six panels were connected in pairs creating bigger theme units: interpretation panels (organized by Joseph Margolis and Noel Carroll, both USA); bio-art panels (organized by Polona Tratnik, Slovenia and Ingeborg Reichle, Germany); changes in culture and arts (Marcin Rychter, Poland, and Kenneth Stikkers, USA). Other sessions and their organizers included: Global Aesthetics and Chinese Aesthetics (Eva Wah Man, Hong Kong); Applied Social Art: The Potential of Art and Criticism after March 11, 2011 (Akiko Kasuya, Japan); Aesthetic Accounts on Japanese Pop-culture (Hisashi Muroi, Japan); The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (Stephan Davies, Australia, Jerzy Luty, Poland); Aesthetics and Landscape (Raffaele Milani, Italy, Yuko Nakama, Japan); Spatial Perception and Aesthetics of Court and Garden (Jeongil Seo, Korea); Cyberaesthetics – the Phenomena of Electronic Art (Michal Ostrowicki, Poland); Art in Action (Maja Piotrowska-Tryzno, Poland); Participatory Art: Ethics and Politics (Michael Kelly, USA); Artification (Yrj? Sep?nmaa, Finland); The Perfomativity of Images in the Social Context (Aleksandra ?ukaszewicz-Alcaraz, Poland); Between Loss and Repetition. Creativity as Response to Death as the Negative Muse (Bogna J. Obidzinska, Poland); Polish Music and Modernity (Teresa Ma?ecka, Poland); Rediscovering Susanne Langer’s Relevance for Contemporary Aesthetics and Theory of Art (Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, Great Britain).
Other participants presented their papers ordered in ten diverse topics: Aesthetics – Visions and Revisions; Changes in Art – Past and Present; Aesthetics in Practice – the Aesthetic Factor in Religion, Ethics, Education, Politics, Law, Economy, Trade, Fashion, Sports, Everyday Life etc.; Aesthetics and Nature: Evolutionism, Ecology, Posthumanism…; Body Aesthetics – Soma and Senses; Art and Science; Technologies and Bio-technologies in Aesthetics and Art; Architecture and Urban Space; Cultural and Intercultural Studies in Aesthetics; The Sphere of Transition – Transections, Transformations, Transfigurations in Culture, Aesthetics and the Arts.
According to the number of submissions, it can be pointed out that the dominant interests were within the contemporary field of aesthetics. The largest number of submissions were in the theme of Vision and Revision and Aestetics in Practice (100 and 64 respectively). There was also great interest in new phenomena in the arts, such as bio-art. All of the presentations were performed simultaneously in nine areas of the Auditorium Maximum, and also – during two Congress days – in Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian University, and in the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art.
ART IN ACTION: The Krakow Congress was held under the banner of Aesthetics in Action, supplemented by the Organizing Committee in artistic part of the Congress, by analogical phrase Art in Action. The last slogan marked almost all artistic events organized during the Congress. The two most important events were to be: Inaugural Concert, which was held in Opening Day in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall and the projection of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s War Veterans Projection held in the night at the Main Market. During the Inaugural Concert, prepared by the Academy of Music in Krakow, City Hall Office, and Philharmonic Hall, there have been heard a composition of a young composer Karol Nepelski’s Aisthetic Symphony (2013) put together with Ignacy Dobrzy?ski’s Overture to the opera Monbar (1838). The works have not been performed one after the one, but arranged by Nepelski in one piece, and supplemented by elements of performance art. The word “aesthesis” and “aesthetics” were encoded in melodics and harmonics of the composition. The work have been performed by Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk,.
The second event initiated by the Organizing Committee, have been realized, thanks to the support of the City Hall Office, by team of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK). The Wodiczko’s projection consisted of white words display on the wall of the City Hall Tower, armored car as a source of the displayed images and sounds effects, and the very sound effects. Words displayed on tower wall were extracts from statements of war veterans and members of their families. All statements were played simultaneously as an audible material supplemented by light flashes and sounds of explosions or gunshots. It should be added, that next day after projection, Wodiczko presented his lecture concerning more theoretical issues.
Another artistic event very popular among Congress participants and Krakow citizens and tourists, was an exhibition of Eduardo Kac Lagoglyphs in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art. The theoretical issues were undertaken by the artist and Wolfgang Welsch on two occasions; the first time during a meeting in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery mediated by its director, Piotr Cyprya?ski, and secondly, in an entirely academic environment of a plenary panel held in Auditorium Maximum. The exhibition in Bunkier Sztuki Kac developed some ideas derived from his work of the transgenic rabbit, centered around visual and poetic dimensions of a language presenting his graphic and multimedia works. Within media works the artist employed the Google Earth application and, next to ready-made graphic works, he decided to make a site specific mural for the occasion.
There were also other artistic events in the building of Auditorium Maximum available for Congress participants. Mostly there have been events marked in their structure by such notions like interaction, activity, being in process. One of such event was an audio-visual installation Behind the Wall by Marek Cho?oniewski, artist connected with two Krakow universities: the Academy of Music in Krakow and Academy of Fine Arts. The installation have been a most noticeable artistic action, because it was performed in a space of the Auditorium Maximum underground where met participants during lunch, coffee breaks, and a the Congress reception. Other artistic events were performed by masters and their students of two universities: the Department of Arts of Pedagogical University of Krakow and Academy of Arts in Szczecin. Events organized by the former were: an exhibition of bio-art Plantomorphs, held partly in medial form in the Auditorium and partly concerning live forms on the roof of the main building of the Pedagogical University (Laboratorium Gallery); and also Garage Sale organized by students from the Roombook group, who realized an idea of artistic interventions taken upon objects exchanged with people visiting their workshop in the Auditorium underground. Instead Academy of Arts events consisted of: students’ films screening on TV monitors in halls of the Auditorium, an exhibition of sculptures made as copies of objects depicted on the photos above them, an action Rest for Hours with fully equipped tent providing a rest space for participants of the Congress, and finally, an installation activated in an elevator made by artist ?ukasz Sk?pski, whose title Music from Trash meant music taken from the artist’s trash folder on his computer. Actions of both universities were supervised by curators: Prof. Halina Cader-Paw?owska, from the Pedagogical University, Prof. ?ukasz Sk?pski and Aleksandra ?ukaszewicz-Alcaraz, PhD, from the Academy of Arts in Szczecin.
INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION: The 19. ICA Krakow 2013 became a great challenge for both Polish communities, academic and cultural. According to the tradition of ICAs, Congress of Aesthetics have always been an opportunity to present an artistic and cultural heritage of the country which organized the event. In fulfilling this tradition the Organizing Committee engaged all Polish aesthetic academic communities and both the scientific and cultural institutions of the city of Krakow. Thanks to the organizers efforts, the Congress received also very broad support from institutions of the state, as well as, from local authorities. In particular, the most fruitful cooperation was with the office of the Mayor of Krakow and Krakow City Hall. The Organizing Committee was given a support in producing the two most important artistic events: the Inaugural Concert with participation of the Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall and Krzysztof Wodiczko’s War Veteran Projection. Moreover, Jacek Majchrowski, the Mayor of Krakow, invited the Congress participants for the reception held in Krakow City Hall, the Wielopolski Palace, and the Mayor Office made possible promotion of the Congress among citizens of Krakow and great number of tourists, printing posters of the centennial conference and giving them public space. Film clips announcing the conference event were seen on the television monitors included on city-wide trams and buses.
The organizers engaged many of Krakow’s scientific and cultural institutions thus fulfilling all organizers intentions to make the Congress fully representative of Poland’s and Krakow’s aesthetic, scientific, and cultural communities. One result of this cooperation was the publication, 20th Century Aesthetics in Poland, edited by Krystyna Wilkoszewska. It has received broad interest from all the participants of the Congress.
Among universities involved in cooperation with the Organizing Committee, before others it should be underlined the Academy of Music in Krakow and its very important contribution to the organization of the Inaugural Concert and a plenary panel held in the Philharmonic Hall. Other universities participation in the organization of the Congress include: Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University and the Dean of the Department of Architecture and Arts Prof. Stanis?aw Hry? who announced a student contest for Congress visual identification (won a student of painting, Joanna Krzempek), the Department of Arts of the Pedagogical University of Krakow, and also the Academy of Arts in Szczecin. The last two participated mainly in the organization of artistic events.
Among Krakow cultural institutions very important role played the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK) with its director, Masza Potocka, who took the care of the practical production of Wodiczko’s projection, and who also invited Congress participants for cocktail party in the museum building and to visit all open exhibitions.
Equally important role played the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art with its director Piotr Cyprya?ski. The result of the cooperation have been the exhibition Lagoglyphs by Eduardo Kac, held during the Congress week, and also the meeting with Wolfgang Welsh and the artist. There were also held some of the scientific sessions of the Congress, making Bunkier Sztuki one of the three scientific spots of the Congress, among Auditorium Maximum and the oldest Jagiellonian University building of Collegium Maius.
In addition to Congress participants having the opportunity to visit Krakow’s near-by historical sites, the Museum of the Japan Arts and Technology also took a part organizing an afternoon reception and guided tour of the museum.
Other Krakow cultural institutions and museums opening their institutions to Congress participants included Director Zofia Go?ubiew invitation to the National Museum in Krakow and Director Micha? Niezabitowski invitation to see the Undergrounds of the Main Market which is part of the Historical Museum of City of Krakow.
The Organizing Committee of the 19. ICA 2013 Krakow hopes that the Congress contributed to strengthening the connection among all the aesthetic communities from around the world, to further the exchange of ideas among young and experienced scholars and also to increase our mutual academic and professional contacts with the hope that this connection will enhance cooperation among individuals and institutions.