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War and Aesthetics: Art, Technology, and the Futures of Warfare (Prisms: Humanities and War #1)

War and Aesthetics: Art, Technology, and the Futures of Warfare (Prisms: Humanities and War #1)

Current price: $40.00
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
The MIT Press
Available for Preorder


A provocative edited collection that takes an original approach toward the black box of military technology, surveillance, and AI—and reveals the aesthetic dimension of warfare.

War and Aesthetics gathers leading artists, political scientists, and scholars to outline the aesthetic dimension of warfare and offer a novel perspective on its contemporary character and the construction of its potential futures. Edited by a team of four scholars, Jens Bjering, Anders Engberg-Pedersen, Solveig Gade, and Christine Strandmose Toft, this timely volume examines warfare through the lens of aesthetics, arguing that the aesthetic configurations of perception, technology, and time are central to the artistic engagement with warfare, just as they are key to military AI, weaponry, and satellite surveillance.

People mostly think of war as the violent manifestation of a political rationality. But when war is viewed through the lens of aesthesis—meaning perception and sensibility—military technology becomes an applied science of sensory cognition. An outgrowth of three war seminars that took place in Copenhagen between 2018 and 2021, War and Aesthetics engages in three main areas of inquiry—the rethinking of aesthetics in the field of art and in the military sphere; the exploration of techno-aesthetics and the wider political and theoretical implications of war technology; and finally, the analysis of future temporalities that these technologies produce. The editors gather various traditions and perspectives ranging from literature to media studies to international relations, creating a unique historical and scientific approach that broadly traces the entanglement of war and aesthetics across the arts, social sciences, and humanities from ancient times to the present. As international conflict looms between superpowers, War and Aesthetics presents new and illuminating ways to think about future conflict in a world where violence is only ever a few steps away.

Louise Amoore, Ryan Bishop, Jens Bjering, James Der Derian, Anthony Downey, Anders Engberg-Pedersen, Solveig Gade, Mark B. Hansen, Caroline Holmqvist, Vivienne Jabri, Caren Kaplan, Phil Klay, Kate McLoughlin, Elaine Scarry, Christine Strandmose Toft, Joseph Vogl, Arkadi Zaides

About the Author

Jens Bjering earned his PhD at the University of Copenhagen with a thesis on post-9/11 US torture and is now a consultant at the Royal Danish Defence College.

Anders Engberg-Pedersen is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Southern Denmark, Chair of Humanities at the Danish Institute for Advanced Studies, and series editor of Prisms: Humanities and War (MIT Press). He is the author of Martial Aesthetics: How War Became an Art Form.

Solveig Gade is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen and coeditor of (W)archives: Archival Imaginaries, War, and Contemporary Art.

Christine Strandmose Toft holds a PhD in Comparative Literature. She earned her degree at the Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark, with a thesis on the representations of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fiction.