Aesthetic pessimism addresses the failures of emphasising presence and embodiment in the face of a consumerist, gendering, hyper-mediated environment. Instead it asks how embodiment might be more productively considered through negativity, with performance practices that acknowledge and implicate the body-as-object. Counter to optimistic approaches, it asks what are the limits of emancipatory aesthetics — especially from a privileged position — and what might be most useful for a material feminist project.
Image: Mayoral Office at March Dance 2019. Photo by Wendy Yu.