Browsing by Organization "Helsingin yliopisto, humanistinen tiedekunta, taiteiden tutkimuksen laitos"

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  • Laine, Pauli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2000)
  • Heikkilä, Martta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    This study investigates the significance of art in Jean-Luc Nancy s philosophy. I argue that the notion of art contributes to some of Nancy s central ontological ideas. Therefore, I consider art s importance in its own right whether art does have ontological significance, and if so, how one should describe this with respect to the theme of presentation. According to my central argument, with his thinking on art Nancy attempts to give one viewpoint to what is called the metaphysics of presence and to its deconstruction. On which grounds, as I propose, may one say that art is not reducible to philosophy? The thesis is divided into two main parts. The first part, Presentation as a Philosophical Theme, is a historical genesis of the central concepts associated with the birth of presentation in Nancy s philosophy. I examine this from the viewpoint of the differentiation between the ontological notions of presentation and representation by concentrating on the influence of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida, as well as of Hegel and Kant. I give an overview of the way in which being or sense for Nancy is to be described as a coming-into-presence or presentation . Therefore, being takes place in its singular plurality. I argue that Nancy redevelops Heidegger s account of being in two principal ways: first, in rethinking the ontico-ontological difference, and secondly, by striving to radicalize the Heideggerian concept of Mitsein, being-with . I equally wish to show the importance of Derrida s notion of différance and its inherence in Nancy s questioning of being that rests on the unfoundedness of existence. The second part, From Ontology to Art, draws on the importance of art and the aesthetic. If, in Nancy, the question of art touches upon its own limit as the limit of nothingness, how is art able to open its own strangeness and our exposure to this strangeness? My aim is to investigate how Nancy s thinking on art finds its place within the conceptual realm of its inherent difference and interval. My central concern is the thought of originary ungroundedness and the plurality of art and of the arts. As for the question of the difference between art and philosophy, I wish to show that what differentiates art from thought is the fact that art exposes what is obvious but not apparent, if apparent is understood in the sense of givenness. As for art s ability to deconstruct Nancy s ontological notions, I suggest that in question in art is its original heterogeneity and diversity. Art is a matter of differing art occurs singularly, as a local difference. With this in mind, I point out that in reflecting on art in terms of spacing and interval, as a thinker of difference Nancy comes closer to Derrida and his idea of différance than to the structure of Heidegger s ontological difference.
  • Bauters, Merja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The purpose of this study is to find a framework for a holistic approach to, and form a conceptual toolbox for, investigating changes in signs and in their interpretation. Charles S. Peirce s theory of signs in a communicative perspective is taken as a basis for the framework. The concern directing the study is the problem of a missing framework in analysing signs of visual artefacts from a holistic perspective as well as that of the missing conceptual tools. To discover the possibility of such a holistic approach to semiosic processes and to form a conceptual toolbox the following issues are discussed: i) how the many Objects with two aspects involved in Peirce s definition of sign-action, promote multiple semiosis arising from the same sign by the same Interpretant depending on the domination of the Objects; ii) in which way can the relation of the individual and society or group be made more apparent in the construction of the self since this construction is intertwined with the process of meaning-creation and interpretation; iii) how to account for the fundamental role of emotions in semiosis, and the relation of emotions with the often neglected topic of embodiment; iv) how to take into account the dynamic, mediating and processual nature of sign-action in analysing and understanding the changes in signs and in the interpretation of signs. An interdisciplinary approach is chosen for this dissertation. Concepts that developed within social psychology, developmental psychology, neurosciences and semiotics, are discussed. The common aspect of the approaches is that they in one way or another concentrate on mediation provided by signs in explaining human activity and cognition. The holistic approach and conceptual toolbox found are employed in a case study. This consists of an analysis of beer brands including a comparison of brands from two different cultures. It becomes clear that different theories and approaches have mutual affinities and do complement each other. In addition, the affinities in different disciplines somewhat provide credence to the various views. From the combined approach described, it becomes apparent that by the semiosic process, the emerging semiotic self intertwined with the Umwelt, including emotions, can be described. Seeing the interpretation and meaning-making through semiosis allows for the analysis of groups, taking into account the embodied and emotional component. It is concluded that emotions have a crucial role in all human activity, including so-called reflective thinking, and that emotions and embodiment should be consciously taken into account in analysing signs, the interpretation, and in changes of signs and interpretations from both the social and individual level. The analysis of the beer labels expresses well the intertwined nature of the relationship between signs, individual consumers and society. Many direct influences from society on the label design are found, and also some indirect attitude changes that become apparent from magazines, company reports, etc. In addition, the analysis brings up the issues of the unifying tendency of the visual artefacts of different cultures, but also demonstrates that the visual artefacts are able to hold the local signs and meanings, and sometimes are able to represent the local meanings although the signs have changed in the unifying process.
  • Konttinen, Anu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Anu Konttinen: Conducting Gestures Institutional and Educational Construction of Conductorship in Finland, 1973-1993. This doctoral thesis concentrates on those Finnish conductors who have participated in Professor Jorma Panula s conducting class at the Sibelius Academy during the years 1973 1993. The starting point was conducting as a myth, and the goal has been to find its practical opposite the practical core of the profession. What has been studied is whether one can theorise and analyse this core, and how. The theoretical goal has been to find out what kind of social construction conductorship is as a historical, sociological and practical phenomenon. In practical terms, this means taking the historical and social concept of a great conductor apart to look for the practical core gestural communication. The most important theoretical tool is the concept of gesture. The idea has been to sketch a theoretical model based on gestural communication between a conductor and an orchestra, and to give one example of the many possible ways of studying the gestures of a conductor.
  • Räsänen, Pajari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Titled "An Essay on Antimetaphoric Resistance", the dissertation investigates what is here being called "Counter-figures": a term which has in this context a certain variety of applications. Any other-than-image or other-than-figure, anything that cannot be exhausted by figuration (and that is, more or less, anything at all, except perhaps the reproducible images and figures themselves) can be considered "counter-figurative" with regard to the formation of images and figures, ideas and schemas, "any graven image, or any likeness of any thing". Singularity and radical alterity, as well as temporality and its peculiar mode of uniqueness are key issues here, and an ethical dimension is implied by, or intertwined with, the aesthetic. In terms borrowed from Paul Celan's "Meridian" speech, poetry may "allow the most idiosyncratic quality of the Other, its time, to participate in the dialogue". This connection between singularity, alterity and temporality is one of the reasons why Celan so strongly objects to the application of the traditional concept of metaphor to poetry. As Celan says, "carrying over [übertragen]" by metaphor may imply an unwillingness to "bear with [mittragen]" and to "endure [ertragen]" the poem. The thesis is divided into two main parts. The first consists of five distinct prolegomena which all address the mentioned variety of applications of the term "counter-figures", and especially the rejection or critique of either metaphor (by Aristotle, for instance) or the concept of metaphor (defined by Aristotle, and sometimes deemed "anti-poetic" by both theorists and poets). Even if we restrict ourselves to the traditional rhetorico-poetical terms, we may see how, for instance, metonymy can be a counter-figure for metaphor, allegory for symbol, and irony for any single trope or for any piece of discourse at all. The limits of figurality may indeed be located at these points of intersection between different types of tropes or figures, and even between figures or tropes and the "non-figurative trope" or "pseudo-figure" called catachresis. The second part, following on from the open-ended prolegomena, concentrates on Paul Celan's poetry and poetics. According to Celan, true poetry is "essentially anti-metaphoric". I argue that inasmuch as we are willing to pay attention to the "will" of the poetic images themselves (the tropes and metaphors in a poem) to be "carried ad absurdum", as Celan invites us to do, we may find alternative ways of reading poetry and approaching its "secret of the encounter", precisely when the traditional rhetorical instruments, and especially the notion of metaphor, become inapplicable or suspicious — and even where they still seem to impose themselves.
  • Hirvi-Ijäs, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The Gesture of Exposure On the presentation of the work of art in the modern art exhibition The topic of this dissertation is the presentation of art works in the modern art exhibition as being the established and conventionalized form of art encounter. It investigates the possibility of a theorization of the art exhibition as a separate object for research, and attempts to examine the relationship between the art work and its presentation in a modern art exhibition. The study takes its point of departure in the area vaguely defined as exhibition studies, and in the lack of a general problematization of the analytical tools used for closer examination of the modern art exhibition. Another lacking aspect is a closer consideration of what happens to the work of art when it is exposed in an art exhibition. The aim of the dissertation is to find a set of concepts that can be used for further theorization The art exhibition is here treated, on the one hand, as an act of exposure, as a showing gesture. On the other hand, the art exhibition is seen as a spatiality, as a space that is produced in the act of showing. Both aspects are seen to be intimately involved in knowledge production. The dissertation is divided into four parts, in which different aspects of the art exhibition are analyzed using different theoretical approaches. The first part uses the archaeological model of Michel Foucault, and discusses the exhibition as a discursive formation based on communicative activity. The second part analyses the derived concepts of gesture and space. This leads to the proposition of three metaphorical spatialities the frame, the agora and the threshold which are seen as providing a possibility for a further extension of the theory of exhibitions. The third part extends the problematization of the relationship between the individual work of art and its exposure through the ideas of Walter Benjamin and Maurice Blanchot. The fourth part carries out a close reading of three presentations from the modern era in order to further examine the relationship between the work of art and its presentation, using the tools that have been developed during the study. In the concluding section, it is possible to see clearer borderlines and conditions for the development of an exhibition theory. The concepts that have been analysed and developed into tools are shown to be useful, and the examples take the discussion into a consideration of the altered premises for the encounter with the postmodern work of art.
  • Mäkinen, Helka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Knuuttila, Sirkka (2009)
    Marguerite Duras (1914−1996) was one of the most original French writers and film directors, whose cycles are renowned for a transgeneric repetition variation of human suffering in the modern condition. Her fictionalisation of Asian colonialism, the India Cycle (1964−1976), consists of three novels, Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein (1964), Le Vice-consul (1966) and L'amour (1971), a theatre play, India Song (1973), and three films, La Femme du Gange (1973), India Song (1974) and Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta desért (1976). Duras’s cultural position as a colon in inter-war ‘Indochina’ was the backdrop for this “théâtre-text-film”, while its creation was provoked by the atrocities of World War II and post-war decolonisation. Fictionalising Trauma analyses the aesthetics of the India Cycle as Duras’s critical working-through of historical trauma. From an emotion-focused cognitive viewpoint, the study sheds light on trauma’s narrativisation using the renewed concept of traumatic memory developed by current social neuroscience. Duras is shown to integrate embodied memory and narrative memory into an emotionally progressing fiction. Thus the rhetoric of the India Cycle epitomises a creative symbolisation of the unsayable, which revises the concept of trauma from a semiotic failure into an imaginative metaphorical process. The India Cycle portrays the stagnated situation of a white society in Europe and British India during the thirties. The narratives of three European protagonists and one fictional Cambodian mendicant are organised as analogues mirroring the effects of rejection and loss on both sides of the colonial system. Using trauma as a conceptual prism, the study rearticulates this composition as three roles: those of witnessing writers, rejected survivors and colonial perpetrators. Three problems are analysed in turn by reading the non-verbal markers of the text: the white man as a witness, the subversive trope of the madwoman and the deadlock of the colonists’ destructive passion. The study reveals emotion and fantasy to be crucial elements in critical trauma fiction. Two devices intertwine throughout the cycle: affective images of trauma expressing the horror of life and death, and self-reflexive metafiction distancing the face-value of the melodramatic stories. This strategy dismantles racist and sexist discourses underpinning European life, thus demanding a renewal of cultural memory by an empathic listening to the ‘other’. And as solipsism and madness lead the lives of the white protagonists to tragic ends, the ‘real’ beggar in Calcutta lives in ecological harmony with Nature. This emphasises the failure of colonialism, as the Durasian phantasm ambiguously strives for a deconstruction of the exotic mythical fiction of French ‘Indochina’.
  • Petrozzi-Stubin, Clara (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Peruvian orchestral music 1945–2005. Identities in diversity Peruvian music for orchestra has not been studied as a whole before, and is hardly known by Peruvian musicians and public. The aim of the thesis is to give a panoramic view of Peruvian orchestral music after 1945, study the particular historical context in which these works were created and how they reflect the search for a musical identity of its own, be it individual, local, national or Latin American. Identity is a construction that changes permanently, and individuals can share many identities at the same time. This is a central issue in multicultural societies as the Peruvian, and music is an important mean for constructing cultural identity. The hypothesis of this research is that orchestral work is a medium for Peruvian composers to express their relationship with traditional and popular musics of the country in different ways, from quotation of melodies to a more abstract appropiation of concepts or suggestive title references. Representative works by selected composers, of different techniques, styles or special reception are chosen and analyzed. Research methodology includes analysis of works with various methods according to their stylistic and technical features, in order to find the particular ways in which composers have approached or expressed diverse identities. The investigation shows that Peruvian orchestral music includes works in the main stylistic trends and using the main compositional techniques of the modernist and postmodern periods. It also shows that the construction and expression of particular identities through the study and use of other Peruvian musical traditions is a constant interest shared by composers of different age and esthetic. In a multicultural society as the Peruvian, characterized by its diversity, different forms of transcultural composition are an important mean of dealing with identity issues in music. This thesis also includes for the first time a list of all orchestral works composed in the country or by Peruvian composers in the period, their composers and genres. KEYWORDS: Peruvian music, contemporary music for orchestra, identity
  • Ryynänen, Max (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Learning from Venice is a philosophical learning diary on what a highly original city can teach urban aesthetics. Throughout history, classical cities have been interpreted and experienced in various ways. But aesthetics has never been accentuated as much as today. Venice has been an important center of commerce, a naval power, and it has had a lot of influence in arts and culture. But in our days it is a tourist trap and a cluster of so called world heritage. The development of tourism is the main reason for the fact that many old cities have become venues for leisure and entertainment, sometimes so that everyday life itself has been pushed to the margins. There is a lot one can learn by studying the history of the aesthetic appreciation of a city. Sometimes the way a city has been enjoyed has changed following the development of traffic. In Venice water buses have replaced the slow and silent gondolas, and since the building of the railway tourists have been approaching the city from a new direction, so that her façade which was built for seafarers has almost become forgotten. There are also themes of change and mobility which are peculiarly Venetian. What is the nature of a city where there are more tourists than inhabitants? And how does one experience a city where water dominates? These questions, and many more, are discussed in Learning from Venice, and side by side with applied aesthetics, the work of philosophers like Walter Benjamin, Gianni Vattimo, and John Dewey, among many others, enter a dialogue with this extraordinary city. Themes discussed include also e.g. walking, surface and depth, Venice as kitsch, and Venice as a museum.
  • Ahonen, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    The subject of the thesis is the mediated construction of author images in popular music. In the study, the construction of images is treated as a process in which artists, the media and the members of the audience participate. The notions of presented, mediated and compiled author images are used in explaining the mediation process and the various authorial roles of the agents involved. In order to explore the issue more closely, I analyse the author images of a group of popular music artists representing the genres of rock, pop and electronic dance music. The analysed material consists mostly of written media texts through which the artists authorial roles and creative responsibilities are discussed. Theoretically speaking, the starting points for the examination lie in cultural studies and discourse analysis. Even though author images may be conceived as intertextual constructions, the artist is usually presented as a recognizable figure whose purpose is to give the music its public face. This study does not, then, deal with musical authors as such, but rather with their public images and mediated constructions. Because of the author-based functioning of popular music culture and the idea of the artist s individual creative power, the collective and social processes involved in the making of popular music are often superseded by the belief in a single, originating authorship. In addition to the collective practices of music making, the roles of the media and the marketing machinery complicate attempts to clarify the sharing of authorial contributions. As the case studies demonstrate, the differences between the examined author images are connected with a number of themes ranging from issues of auteurism and stardom to the use of masked imagery and the blending of authorial voices. Also the emergence of new music technologies has affected not only the ways in which music is made, but also how the artist s authorial status and artistic identity is understood. In the study at hand, the author images of auteurs, stars, DJs and sampling artists are discussed alongside such varied topics as collective authorship, evaluative hierarchies, visual promotion and generic conventions. Taken altogether, the examined case studies shed light on the functioning of popular music culture and the ways in which musical authorship is (re)defined.
  • Menanteau, Alvaro (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This research is about jazz in Chile in relation to modernity and identity. Final chapters focus and detach latest jazz musician s generation in 1990 decade and composer guitarist Angel Parra. An historic and sociological approach is developed, which will be useful for modernity and identity analysis, and so on post modernity and globalization. Modernity has been studied in texts of Adorno, Baudrillard, Brünner, García Canclini, Habermas and Jameson. Identity has been studied in texts of Aharonián, Cordúa, Garretón, Gissi, Larraín and others. Chapter 3 is about Latin-American musicology and jazz investigations, in relation to approach developed in chapter 2. Chapters 4 and 5 are about history of jazz in Chile until beginning of XXI century. Chapter 6 focuses in Ángel Parra Orrego. Conclusions of this investigation detach the modernist mechanical that has conducted jazz development in Chile, which in Ángel Parra´s case has been overcame by a post modernist behaviour. This behaviour has solved in a creative way, subjects like modernity and identity in jazz practice in a Latin-American country.
  • Torvinen, Juha (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Music as the Art of Anxiety: A Philosophical Approach to the Existential-Ontological Meaning of Music. The present research studies music as an art of anxiety from the points of view of both Martin Heidegger s thought and phenomenological philosophy in general. In the Heideggerian perspective, anxiety is understood as a fundamental mode of being (Grundbefindlichkeit) in human existence. Taken as an existential-ontological concept, anxiety is conceived philosophically and not psychologically. The central research questions are: what is the relationship between music and existential-ontological anxiety? In what way can music be considered as an art of anxiety? In thinking of music as a channel and manifestation of anxiety, what makes it a special case? What are the possible applications of phenomenology and Heideggerian thought in musicology? The main aim of the research is to develop a theory of music as an art of existential-ontological anxiety and to apply this theory to musicologically relevant phenomena. Furthermore, the research will contribute to contemporary musicological debates and research as it aims to outline the phenomenological study of music as a field of its own; the development of a specific methodology is implicit in these aims. The main subject of the study, a theory of music as an art of anxiety, integrates Heideggerian and phenomenological philosophies with critical and cultural theories concerning violence, social sacrifice, and mimetic desire (René Girard), music, noise and society (Jacques Attali), and the affect-based charme of music (Vladimir Jankélévitch). Thus, in addition to the subjective mood (Stimmung) of emptiness and meaninglessness, the philosophical concept of anxiety also refers to a state of disorder and chaos in general; for instance, to noise in the realm of sound and total (social) violence at the level of society. In this study, music is approached as conveying the existentially crucial human compulsion for signifying i.e., organizing chaos. In music, this happens primarily at the immediate level of experience, i.e. in affectivity, and also in relation to all of the aforementioned dimensions (sound, society, consciousness, and so on). Thus, music s existential-ontological meaning in human existence, Dasein, is in its ability to reveal different orders of existence as such. Indeed, this makes music the art of anxiety: more precisely, music can be existentially significant at the level of moods. The study proceeds from outlining the relevance of phenomenology and Heidegger s philosophy in musicology to the philosophical development of a theory of music as the art of anxiety. The theory is developed further through the study of three selected specific musical phenomena: the concept of a musical work, guitar smashing in the performance tradition of rock music, and Erik Bergman s orchestral work Colori ed improvvisazioni. The first example illustrates the level of individual human-subject in music as the art of anxiety, as a means of signifying chaos, while the second example focuses on the collective need to socio-culturally channel violence. The third example, being music-analytical, studies contemporary music s ability to mirror the structures of anxiety at the level of a specific musical text. The selected examples illustrate that, in addition to the philosophical orientation, the research also contributes to music analysis, popular music studies, and the cultural-critical study of music. Key words: music, anxiety, phenomenology, Martin Heidegger, ontology, guitar smashing, Erik Bergman, musical work, affectivity, Stimmung, René Girard
  • Käkelä-Puumala, Tiina (2007)
    This dissertation analyzes the interrelationship between death, the conditions of (wo)man s social being, and the notion of value as it emerges in the fiction of the American novelist Thomas Pynchon (1937 ). Pynchon s present work includes six novels V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity s Rainbow (1973), Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), Against the Day (2006) and several short stories. Death constitues a central thematic in Pynchon s work, and it emerges through recurrent questions of mortality, suicide, mass destruction, sacrifice, afterlife, entropy, the relationship between the animate and the inanimate, and the limits of representation. In Pynchon, death is never a mere biological given (or event); it is always determined within a certain historical, cultural, and ideological context. Throughout his work, Pynchon questions the strict ontological separation of life and death by showing the relationship between this separation and social power. Conceptual divisions also reflect the relationship between society and its others, and death becomes that through which lines of social demarcation are articulated. Determined as a conceptual and social "other side", death in Pynchon forms a challenge to modern culture, and makes an unexpected return: the dead return to haunt the living, the inanimate and the animate fuse, and technoscientific attempts at overcoming and controlling death result in its re-emergence in mass destruction and ecological damage. The questioning of the ontological line also affects the structuration of Pynchon's prose, where the recurrent narrated and narrative desire to reach the limits of representation is openly associated with death. Textualized, death appears in Pynchon's writing as a sudden rupture within the textual functioning, when the "other side", that is, the bare materiality of the signifier is foregrounded. In this study, Pynchon s cultural criticism and his poetics come together, and I analyze the subversive role of death in his fiction through Jean Baudrillard s genealogy of the modern notion of death from L échange symbolique et la mort (1976). Baudrillard sees an intrinsic bond between the social repression of death in modernity and the emergence of modern political economy, and in his analysis economy and language appear as parallel systems for generating value (exchange value/ sign-value). For Baudrillard, the modern notion of death as negativity in relation to the positivity of life, and the fact that death cannot be given a proper meaning, betray an antagonistic relation between death and the notion of value. As a mode of negativity (that is, non-value), death becomes a moment of rupture in relation to value-based thinking in short, rationalism. Through this rupture emerges a form of thinking Baudrillard labels the symbolic, characterized by ambivalence and the subversion of conceptual opposites.