Although the expression πλαστική τέχνη has Greek origins, the derivative term Plasticity enters European languages only in the Modern Age and it is strictly linked to the domain of art. Notably, Plasticity is the art of manipulating a ductile substance (like wax) to create a work of art or a three-dimensional preparatory model. Aesthetics was concerned with this concept mostly referring to that definition, the fulcrum of a key text of eighteenth-century reflection, the Plastik of Herder. Today this concept has again become central in the aesthetic field thanks to Catherine Malabou – a student of Derrida and one of the most influential thinkers in contemporary French debate –, in whose reflections the concept of plastic form is central. As used in her works, the word “plasticity” has a double meaning: to receive form (i.e. clay is plastic because it can be molded) and to give form (i.e. plastic surgery is the branch of medicine interested in reconstructing human tissues for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons). Malabou calls “positive” these two definitions and adds a third philosophical meaning: negatively, plasticity is linked to the annihilation of form and the creation of morphological novelties. This destructive potential is evident in the French word plastiquage which indicates a “plastic explosive”, a substance made of nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose able to cause violent detonation, the disintegration of form and its transformation into the absence of form. This triple definition allows us to overcome the traditional boundaries of aesthetics, opening up to Physics, Medicine and Biology. The bodies themselves are the emblem of plasticity: they can be molded and continually change in response to environment. This is the reason why the concept of Plasticity can be extended far beyond the domain of art.

Maggiore, V. (2023). Plasticity. In INTERNATIONAL LEXICON OF AESTHETICS. Sesto San Giovanni : Mimesis Journal.

Plasticity

Maggiore, Valeria
2023

Abstract

Although the expression πλαστική τέχνη has Greek origins, the derivative term Plasticity enters European languages only in the Modern Age and it is strictly linked to the domain of art. Notably, Plasticity is the art of manipulating a ductile substance (like wax) to create a work of art or a three-dimensional preparatory model. Aesthetics was concerned with this concept mostly referring to that definition, the fulcrum of a key text of eighteenth-century reflection, the Plastik of Herder. Today this concept has again become central in the aesthetic field thanks to Catherine Malabou – a student of Derrida and one of the most influential thinkers in contemporary French debate –, in whose reflections the concept of plastic form is central. As used in her works, the word “plasticity” has a double meaning: to receive form (i.e. clay is plastic because it can be molded) and to give form (i.e. plastic surgery is the branch of medicine interested in reconstructing human tissues for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons). Malabou calls “positive” these two definitions and adds a third philosophical meaning: negatively, plasticity is linked to the annihilation of form and the creation of morphological novelties. This destructive potential is evident in the French word plastiquage which indicates a “plastic explosive”, a substance made of nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose able to cause violent detonation, the disintegration of form and its transformation into the absence of form. This triple definition allows us to overcome the traditional boundaries of aesthetics, opening up to Physics, Medicine and Biology. The bodies themselves are the emblem of plasticity: they can be molded and continually change in response to environment. This is the reason why the concept of Plasticity can be extended far beyond the domain of art.
Plasticità Plasticité Plastizität Plasticidad
Plasticity, Aesthetics, Malabou, Morphology
Maggiore, V. (2023). Plasticity. In INTERNATIONAL LEXICON OF AESTHETICS. Sesto San Giovanni : Mimesis Journal.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
PLASTICITY lexicon MAGGIORE.docx

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Pre-print
Dimensione 43.43 kB
Formato Microsoft Word XML
43.43 kB Microsoft Word XML Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/567582
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact