Volume 30, Issue 3, 2020
Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics
Everyday Aesthetics in the Dialogue of Chinese and Western Aesthetic Sensibilities
The paper examines the intercultural dimension of everyday aesthetics which was promoted by one of its most important Chinese proponents Liu Yuedi as a search for dialogue between various aesthetic traditions, in particular, those from the East and West. The aim of the paper is to explore some parallels between the traditional Chinese and contemporary Western aesthetic sensibilities, by looking for their common values and concepts which are gaining prominence in the discourse of everyday aesthetics. It begins with a survey of the contributions of Chinese and Western scholars; the survey concerns the relevance of Chinese (Confucian and Daoist) traditional aesthetics for everyday aesthetics, and examines particular features of the nature of perception in everyday aesthetics which is common to Chinese and Western artistic activities, aesthetic discourses and their conceptualizations. In the second section I discuss the “intercultural” concept of atmosphere as the de-personalized or “transpersonal”/intersubjective, vague and all-inclusive experience of the situational mood and environmental wholeness. I explore and compare the reflection of its characteristics in Western scholarship and Chinese aesthetics, especially in regard to the aural perception and sonic sensibility. The final section provides a comparative analysis of few examples of the integration of music into the environmental or everyday surrounding—in Daoist philosophy and Chinese everyday aesthetics, and Western avant-garde art (precisely, musical composition by John Cage 4’33). The analysis is concentrated on the perception of music in relation to the experience of atmosphere and everyday aesthetics, as they were defined in the previous sections. The paper challenges the “newness” of everyday aesthetics, especially if it is viewed from the intercultural perspective, and proposes the separation of its discourses into the investigation of its past and present.