Aesthetics, In Life

Philosophy of Food

My analysis of food and eating practices is to be considered, for the most part, as a contribution to the debate in everyday aesthetics. Rather than focusing on the similarities between food and the fine arts, I emphasize the cognitive and relational qualities of food, from its ethical and social components to the specificities that can be attributed to the many ways in which food is experienced.

 

Eating Out as Eating In: The Intimate Call of the Contemporary Restaurant Scene

Anthropology, sociology, and more recently philosophy have produced a number of accounts of food and eating based on the idea that food is essentially, and fundamentally, a cognitive and experiential activity. Mindful of the body and the mind, while aware of social and economic environments, these accounts range from the emotional experience of food to the many and multifaceted contrasts intrinsic to the nature of food (life and death, raw and cooked, exotic and familiar), and can also incorporate the social and economic dichotomies associated with the selection and consumption of food. Specifically, I am interested in the attention that superstar cooks and exclusive restaurant environments are paying to the cognitive, perceptual, and social features of food and eating that are traditionally associated with more modest, familiar, and affordable eating practices. I begin with an analysis of the practical, but also emotional and experiential differences between “eating in” and “eating out.” I then consider three concepts, Terroir, Home, and Kitchen and how they have been appropriated and shaped by the contemporary restaurant scene. It is largely incorrect, I conclude, to regard fine restaurants and cuisine as exclusive, exceptional, or eccentric experiences. One of the current and leading goals of high scale dining is to recall the intimate and familiar dimensions of food and its consumption. Furthermore, I maintain that in addition to recalling the experience of intimacy and familiarity, fine dining may be able to “re-invent” it.

2016, “Eating Out as Eating in: The Intimate Call of the Contemporary Restaurant Scene,” The Journal of Somaesthetics, Vol. 2 No.1: 49-58.

 

Philosophy of Fashion

I love fashion, I have always had and while sometimes I feel horrible about it, I know I have to find ways of writing about it. Because it is there, it is relevant, and has a lot to do with who we are and how we live our lives. Also, not that may philosophers really get it.

 

Fashion as Play

This paper explores the ontology of fashion by drawing a parallel between fashion and the aesthetic analysis of games. Specifically, seeing fashion as a performative activity which closely resembles play allows me to respond to two objections that have been leveled against it. The first questions the ability of fashion to truly introduce new and original components; the second challenges the connection between fashion and the establishment of identity. Emphasizing elements such as repetition, interactivity, and episodic playing I defend the aesthetic value of fashion and its potential for introducing original and innovative features while also contributing to who we are, both personally and socially.

2018, April. ASA American Society of Aesthetics Eastern Division in Philadelphia. Paper: “Fashion as Play.”

 

Philosophy of Architecture

My interest in architecture, and specifically in urbanism, is based on a reflection on the multifaceted relation between the way we build and inhabit cities and the challenges, but also the promises of a more inclusive cosmopolitan society. Special attention is given to areas and urban centers that are undergoing dramatic socio-political changes.

 

Identity and Strategies of Identification: A Moral and Aesthetic Shift in Architecture and Urbanism

The relationship between architecture and urban centers and concepts such as community and identity is undeniably complex and has been described, by both philosophers and architectural theorists, in radically different ways. In this essay, I focus on the contrast between the role of architecture and cities as providers of a “sense of identity” while also emphasizing the risks associated with this conception. I begin with an overview of a few theories arguing – on an aesthetic, moral, and functional ground – for the necessity of a connection among architecture, identity, and community. I then move, in the second part, to what can be seen as the critical and theoretical dismantling of such a notion: a dismantling that, however, does not end the discussion on identity as much as it problematizes it. Specifically, I argue for a terminological and conceptual change: for if identity is lost, or too ambitious of a goal, identification, and the practices leading to it are still “in the making.” Learning to identify might be even harder than finding identity, but it has become an essential skill in our present, multicultural, and dangerously fluctuating society.

2016, “Identity and Strategies of Identification: A Moral and Aesthetic Shift in Architecture and Urbanism,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology, Special Issue: Urban Aesthetics Vol. 3 No.2: 111-123.

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