Article of the Year

Since 1997, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics has been awarding the Aesthetic Deed of the Year (in Finland). We have thus highlighted important aesthetic work made in art, city planning, architectural renovation, the media, and other fields where aesthetics can make a difference. With the award, we aspire to foster discussion about aesthetics and its role in society. The award is given to a person or community which has through its acts, products, or thoughts raised discussion about art, beauty, and aesthetic value. Starting from 2015, the Finnish Society for Aesthetics has also awarded a global version of the award, as well as an award for a high-quality research article.

2021

La Caze, Marguerite. “Becoming a Victim: A Dry White Season,” Philosophy Today, vol. 65, no. 4 (2021), pp. 899–916.

In this article, La Caze offers an insightful elaboration of individual and collective victimhood through consideration of its portrayal in a work of cinematic fiction, Euzhan Palcy’s film A Dry White Season (USA, 1989), based on André Brink’s 1979 novel of the same name. La Caze’s nuanced reading of the film that makes visible the conditions and consequences of resistance in apartheid South Africa is very topical, as it opens perspectives also to contemporary debates on the status of victimhood. At the time of its release, the film was criticized for placing an Afrikaner schoolteacher as its central character, who becomes a victim of the apartheid regime for supporting Black resistance. This criticism reflects today’s questions on “the right of ownership” to the status of a victim in relation to collective suffering: who can represent whom? This question, besides being an artistic and philosophical topic at large, also touches upon political discussions on representation, gaze and production of different positions in a culture. In her erudite writing, La Caze brings to the fore the transcultural stakes in translating a specific problematic into an international scale, a fact that addresses the seemingly uncomplicated portrayal and public reception of the film. The particular strength of the article is to allow for an array of interpretations that, even if contradictory, resist simple categorization and any idea of a singular truth, a position that makes it especially worthy of the Article of the Year award.

The recipient of the award was chosen by PhD Martta Heikkilä (Finnish Society for Aesthetics) and PhD Janne Vanhanen.

2020

Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria. “Re-animating soils: Transforming human–soil affections through science, culture and community,” The Sociological Review Monographs, vol. 67, no. 2 (Feb 28, 2019), pp. 391–407.

In the article, Professor Puig de la Bellacasa challenges the human-centered tradition of division between the human subject and non-human object while bringing aesthetics into current posthuman discourses and the domain of new materialism. She introduces soil as an active agent in the process of aesthetic meaning-making. The argumentation boldly opens into different fields of inquiry and experiments with the plasticity of aesthetics, negotiating between animated and non-animated binaries. While making her argument on shared aliveness, Professor Puig de la Bellacasa uses aesthetics as an organic part of the multidisciplinary methodology. Thus, she promotes the visibility of aesthetics in other academic fields and markedly achieves one of the most important criteria of this award.

The recipient of the award was chosen by Riikka Haapalainen (Finnish Association for Avantgarde and Modernism, Finnish Association for Museum Education Pedaali) and Onerva Kiianlinna (Finnish Society for Aesthetics).

2019-18

Windsor, Mark. “What Is the Uncanny?The British Journal of Aesthetics 59, no. 1 (March 13, 2019): 51–65.

In his article, Dr Windsor convincingly argues that the emotion of uncanniness can be defined as “an anxious uncertainty about what is real caused by an apparent impossibility”. By doing so, Dr Windsor offers an important contribution to the study of aesthetic categories, as so far uncanniness has received very little attention in analytic aesthetics despite its prevalence in art and popular culture. Dr Windsor’s detailed account develops the insights of Freud’s notion of the uncanny with the conceptual precision of analytic philosophy and positions itself carefully with regards to existing research. His argument is rich, comprehensive and yet balanced, making his article a great example of a well-written journal article. The article also maps out possible perspectives for future research on uncanniness, to which Dr Windsor’s article offers a solid starting point.

The recipient of the award was chosen by Dr Harri Mäcklin (University of Helsinki).

2017

Melchionne, Kevin. “Aesthetic Choice.The British Journal of Aesthetics 57, no. 3 (July 1, 2017): 283–298.

Melchionne brings an important, but surprisingly understudied topic under examination. A new area of discussion will surely begin from this fresh opening. The choice of this article emphasizes also the value of the contributions of independent scholars to the development of academic aesthetics.

Article of the Year 2017 has been chosen by Sanna Lehtinen from the Finnish Society for Aesthetics and Michaela Pastekova from the Slovak Society of Aesthetics.

2016

Diaconu, Mădălina. “Longing for Clouds – Does Beautiful Weather Have to Be Fine?Contemporary Aesthetics 13 (January 1, 2016).

The recipient was chosen by Max Ryynänen, Zoltan Somhegyi, and Peter Breznan.

2015

John, Eileen. “Meals, Art, and Artistic Value.Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics LI, no. 2 (2014): 254–268.

In recent years, aesthetics has been infiltrated into topics like food, personal appearance and weather. In her article “Meals, Art, and Artistic Value”, Eileen John argues that meals are not works of art, but can have artistic value. She illustrates convincingly how meals can figure as a good example of why we need notions of artistic and aesthetic value and how our everyday life is affected by aesthetics. This makes the text relevant not just for people excited about eating and dining, but also for aesthetic research.

The award was chosen by Veera Launis (Finnish Society of Aesthetics) and Michaela Pastekova (Slovak Association for Aesthetics).