This note is about he concept of aesthetics, in more-than-human terms.

Semiosis is a collapse of multiple possibilities via choice. (and memory (or 'semiotic memory') is a choice that influences other choices) Semiosis solves problems, incompatibilities, etc. Life is then problem solving. Semiotic fitting: an agent's communicational match with its surroundings. Semiotic fitting is the basic aesthetic process. Older biological communities (living agents) are better fitted (as they develop more relationships over time as a tendency) and as such are more beautiful. Beauty is then perfect semiotic fitness, it is species-specific. Kalevi Kull, in this brief talk on aesthetics.

Aesthetic forms:

  • artistic (human)
  • aesthetic (all life)
    • vegetal aesthetics: assimilates patterns
    • animal aesthetics: assimilates correlations (can be emphatic)
    • vertebrate aesthetics: assimilates emotions
    • human aesthetics: wilful

That is design needs to focus on biosemiotic aesthetics.

Related terms:

  • ecoaesthetics
  • bioaesthetics
  • zoomusicology

Aesthetics of Decay and Impermanence

Gandy, Matthew. “Entropy by Design: Gilles Clément, Parc Henri Matisse and the Limits to Avant-Garde Urbanism.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37, no. 1 (2013): 259–78.

Gandy, Matthew. “Marginalia: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Urban Wastelands.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 103, no. 6 (2013): 1301–16.

This is used by Harry Guan in his essay referred to in Beyond Greening

Aesthetics of Change

Brady, Emily, Isis Brook, and Jonathan Prior. Between Nature and Culture: The Aesthetics of Modified Environments. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Nonhuman Aesthetics

Interspecies aesthetics.

Prum, Richard O. The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World - and Us. New York: Doubleday, 2017.

Biotic art worlds, cf. as an extension of art worlds

Rohman, Carrie. ‘Modernist Animals and Bioaesthetics’. In The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature, edited by Susan McHugh, Robert McKay, and John Miller, 385–96. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

In my view, human creativity is only the most recent iteration of an artistic impulse that belongs to the living in general. Rather than looking primarily beyond ourselves to understand animals and aesthetics, I suggest we must also look within to identify a long, durational coincidence of the human and animal elaboration of life forces in aesthetic practices. Moreover, we ought to turn toward animals to revise and revivify our understanding of aesthetic capacities. Such a viewpoint radically suggests that all human artistic propensities have some fundamental connection to animality that is based in strategies of excess, display, and intensification that are not primarily cognitive. Reconceiving our artistic drives as more than human—reenvisioning the aesthetic domain itself as trans-species in scope—is also ethically charged because we must acknowledge the shared status of art-making, one of our most revered and formerly “exceptional” activities.

A bioaesthetic framework therefore also signals a heightened ethical responsibility to acknowledge the richness and vitality of the nonhuman world. What is at stake in this second book, then, is a new sense of the artistic that helps us see the human not in contradistinction to the living in general but as participating in broad forms of expression that connect us to other beings. It resituates the artistic as a more-than-human practice that both expands our understanding of the human and concomitantly reframes our ethical relation to nonhuman animals. In my view, this kind of work has the potential to reshape and reinvigorate the humanities by helping us find new ways to understand our humanness, and to acknowledge and explore how the human participates in the nonhuman world.

Art and Literature about Animals

McHugh, Susan, Robert McKay, and John Miller, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.