February 2015 - February 2017
Jakub Stejskal's project is situated at the crossroads of philosophical aesthetics, art historiography, and the anthropology of art. Its aim is to investigate and develop a solution to an apparent incompatibility between two influential conceptions of interpreting aesthetic visual culture. One is at home in philosophy and the humanities and understands art as a privileged way of initiating a cognitive distance between its spectators and shared collective meanings. The other is more prevalent in the social sciences and views art as a set of techniques serving to reproduce social order by using enchantment to make its members acquiesce. The incompatibility between them may be formulated as follows: How can art be a means of enchantment and at the same time initiate cognitive distance from the very conditions of enchantment?
Jakub Stejskal received his PhD from Charles University in Prague in 2014. In his dissertation he investigated the philosophical sources and consequences of the idea of art as 'second nature' (Aristotle, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Lukács, Adorno, McDowell, Pippin). He was a lecturer in visual art theory at the Department of Aesthetics, Charles University, and held a part-time position at the Research Center of the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. In 2009/10 he was a visiting PhD researcher at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has served as Associate Editor of the journal Estetika since 2008.