The sublime in its romantic tradition is provoked by bombastic experiences, often related to extreme situations of (outside) phenomena (storms in high mountains, shipwrecks, …). It is an out-of-scale experience and it is always a fiction as it implies a distance between the phenomenon and the beholder. In the body of work that I am creating, this ambivalent dis-orientation happens with forms that involve the spectator in a different way. The situation that is either proposed from the start or that evolves through time is fragile. It can fail at any moment. It is on a verge, at a tipping point. But, unlike in the romantic sublime, it is not a fiction. It is not a representation of a fragile situation. It is really happening in the space. And precisely because it is situated at a fragile threshold the spectators realize that they have agency on what is happening. They are placed in the situation of being responsible for it. My research analyzes the strategy, goals and signification of this transition from aesthetic experience to ethical responsibility.

The sublime in the anthropocene

The most fragile degree of participation
project team
David Weber-Krebs
01.10.2017 – 30.09.2023
aesthetics, ecology, sublime, fragility, anthropocene, performance