EVENT Jul 15
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Mimesis as conditio humana

Organization: Itinera - Rivista di filosofia e di teoria delle arti
Categories: Pedagogy, Literary Theory, Rhetoric & Composition, Drama, Narratology, Poetry, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Philosophy, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2023-07-15 to 2023-07-15 Abstract Due: 2023-07-15

Mimesis as conditio humana

Edited by Salvatore Tedesco e Valeria Maggiore

The concept of Mimesis originates in the Greek context in the 5th century BC. and since then, it has been at the heart of Western aesthetic reflection. Indeed, the classical paradigm of mimesis has its roots in the platonic dialogues Republic and Sophist and finds its best-known formulation in the Aristotelian affirmation according to which “art imitates nature” (Physics II, 2, 194a 21- 27). Starting with this definition, aestheticians have traditionally questioned themselves about the “passive” role of mimetic practices (why does art feel the need to imitate reality? What kind of strategies have been used to operate this imitation?); however, as Christoph Wulf pointed out, «mimesis cannot be understood in a restrictive way concerning art, poetry, aesthetics. The mimetic faculty plays a role in almost all areas of human acting, representing, speaking, and thinking» (C. Wulf, Mimesis, l’arte e i suoi modelli, Mimesis, Milano, 1995, p. 9): it is conditio humana. Therefore, it must not be comprehended in a narrow sense as the mere reproduction of copies, but its field of investigation must also take into account an “active” meaning of the term since it also indicates a process that leads us to aesthetically come into contact with external reality and to creatively reproduce its traits even in our own body. This meaning is already present in the famous Aristotelian statement mentioned above: it is inserted in a work in which the philosopher of Stagira deals with the subjects and causes of natural becoming (i.e. of those processes whose principle is in the object itself, an object that evolves) and, from an accurate contextual reading of these words, we can understand that art does not limit itself to "taking nature as a reference model for its production" but "operates like nature itself" because it is identical to it in the way of proceeding. It is in this complexity, which connects the notion of mimesis not only to the terms of imitation and verisimilitude but also to those of individual plasticity and autopoiesis, that the topicality of the question lies.

The issue of “Itinera” is therefore dedicated to the analysis of these issues, starting from the traditional definition of mimesis up to its most recent interpretations. Here are some possible areas for discussion:

• The Greek definition of mimesis and its implications in philosophical debate;

• The history of the concept of mimesis and its possible contemporary interpretations;

• The relationship between art and nature in the light of the concept of mimesis;

• Mimesis as production of appearances: poetry, plastic arts and digital images;

• Mimesis and plasticity;

• Mimetic activity as an anthropological and social practice.


Deadline for submission: July 15th, 2023

Expected Release: Decembre 2023

Papers can be written in English, Italian and French.

Submissions must be sent to: valeria.maggiore@unipa.it

Salvatore Tedesco (salavtore.tedesco@unipa.it)

Valeria Maggiore (valeria.maggiore@unipa.it)



Valeria Maggiore