The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design

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9781474243865: The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design

'If there is one thing we can learn from John Ruskin, it is that each age must find its own way to beauty' writes Lars Spuybroek in The Sympathy of Things, his ground-breaking work which proposes a radical new aesthetics for the digital era.

Spuybroek argues that we must 'undo' the twentieth century and learn to understand the aesthetic insights of the nineteenth-century art critic John Ruskin, from which he distils pointers for the contemporary age. Linking philosophy, design, and the digital, with art history, architecture, and craft, Spuybroek explores the romantic notion of 'sympathy', a core concept in Ruskin's aesthetics, re-evaluating it as the driving force of the twenty-first century aesthetic experience. For Ruskin, beauty always comprises variation, imperfection and fragility, three concepts that wholly disappeared from our mindsets during the twentieth century, but which Spuybroek argues to be central to contemporary aesthetics and design.

Revised throughout, and a new foreword by philosopher Brian Massumi, this is a new edition of a seminal work which has drawn praise from fields as diverse as digital architecture and speculative realism, and will continue to be influential as it wrests Ruskin's ideas out of the Victorian era and reconstructs them for the modern age.

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Book Description:

A new edition of Lars Spuybroek's ground-breaking exploration of Ruskin, aesthetics, ornament, and digital design.

From the Back Cover:

The Sympathy of Things is an astonishing and visionary work. I havenever before come across a book so brimming with insight, written withsuch feeling, and so keenly in touch with life. Ostensibly a meditationon the oeuvre of John Ruskin, what Lars Spuybroek offers us is anintoxicating meditation on art, architecture and design that soars above the ponderous deadweight of thing-theory to luxuriate in the unruly and exuberant proliferation of the things themselves. -- Tim Ingold, Professor and Chair of Social Anthropology, University of Aberdeen

Spuybroek offers us a fascinating exploration of the sympathetic forcestraversing, infusing, composing, and affecting us and other bodies. This wondrous book will change the way you experience the world and shake up established notions of causality, agency, and 'life.'
-- Jane Bennett, Professor of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University

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