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Ossi Naukkarinen



Mobility is one of the key concepts of our contemporary culture. Millions of people commute, goods and information circulate globally, and mobile technology is a powerful economic and cultural force. Many tend to think like Joseph Margolis that aesthetics is the most strategically placed philosophical disciplines of our time. Still, aestheticians have not been very active in analysing movement. Yet it is evident that activities of the homo mobilis have interesting aesthetic aspects which are also pivotal for understanding these activities. It seems clear, e.g., that it is aesthetically rewarding to drive a good car and this affects how cars are designed and why people often choose driving instead of walking. All this has many influences on our everyday life. The aim of this paper is to search guidelines with the help of which aesthetics of movement and mobility could be discussed. What does it mean that it is aesthetically rewarding to move in a certain way? How could it be described and taken into account when planning an environment? To make the article more concrete the theme is approached through real-world examples, especially through art photographs. Key words: applied aesthetics; environment; mobility; movement; photography.

In the second announcement of the XVth International Congress of Aesthetics, Aesthetics in the 21st Century, the organizers of the congress wish to obtain, through collaborative effort, a view of the potential future of aesthetics. This paper is written with this in mind. Thus it contains suggestions, questions and ideas about future possibilities rather than final answers.

Mobility is one of the key concepts of our contemporary culture. Millions of people commute and travel abroad daily. Refugees flow from one violent area to another. Tourism is one of the busiest industries in the worldwith congress


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tourism, which David Lodge describes so well in his novel Small World, being one of its curious sub-categories. Also, goods and information circulate globally, and motor vehicles and information and communications technology are produced non-stop to be used in endless traffic and information jams. People and everything around them are always on the go, and it also seems that while we are on the move, we want to be able to take care of more and more errands with our laptops and mobile phones. This, in turn, makes mobile technology a powerful economic and cultural force, and nomadism has become a topical metaphor. Panta rei, as Heraclitus put it. Largely due to this increased volume of mobility, which has its own complicated political, technological and economic reasons, our living world landscapes, cities, even the climate and peopleis changing rapidly. Cities are growing, rural areas are being depopulated, airports and highways are getting busier and busier, and the whole world is becoming more and more polluted. There seems to be no reason to think that the tempo of these changes will slow down, either. Moreover, even if we continue the process started by the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the railway system in the 19th century,1 the ways we experience the world through our mobile phones, fast cars and super fast Internet accesses are probably something very different from what people in the 19th century experienced. On one hand the volume and speed of movement are simply much higher, on the other we have become accustomed to forms and means of a moving lifestyle that were unimaginable a century or even a couple of decades ago. For example, even if over one hundred years ago there was talk of the reduction of space through the growth of speed, the notion has become even more topical because of the much higher speeds used, the ultimate example being movement of information at the speed of light via optical cables. Movement and mobility are phenomena that have major environmental and experiential impacts and thus call for penetrating analyses from many angles. At the same time many tend to think like Joseph Margolis that aesthetics is the most strategically placed philosophical disciplines of our time.2 Some even claim that especially the contemporary Western culture has been aestheticized to the extent that aesthetic factors like art-likeness, beauty or sensuousness each interpreted in many ways, of coursenow direct peoples attitudes, actions and choices very effectively in many areas of daily life, science, politics, business, sports, jurisprudence, religion etc.3 Something like this is also commonly realized outside philosophical discourse, for example in marketing and

Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise (Carl Hanser Verlag 1977). Joseph Margolis, Art and Philosophy (Humanities Press 1980), pp. vvi. 3 Wolfgang Welsch, sthetisches Denken (Stuttgart: Reclam 1990); Mike Featherstone: Consumer Culture and Postmodernism (Sage Publications 1991); Gerhard Schulze, Die Erlebnisgesellschaft (Campus Verlag 1993).
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design, and this results in constant aesthetic reworking of the everyday environment. In the end, however, be the contemporary status of aesthetic factors what it may, when compared to other times and factors there is no doubt of its importance: aesthetics forms a focal part of human culture, even if it is often overshadowed by economics, politics and sheer indifference. Thus one would think that philosophical aesthetics plays an active role in analyzing the most important phenomena of our time, including movement and mobility of people, goods and information. There are excellent studies and whole traditions of research on many aspects of mobility and movement, e.g., those of social sciences concentrating on social, economic and statistic factors of migration and global business4 and those of physics. In fact, in the history of western philosophy analyses of movement have most often been connected precisely with physics and dynamics. One obvious reason for this is that Aristotle dealt with movement in his Physics as one form of kinesis, the other forms or categories of it being change in quality and quantity, coming-to-be and passing-away. All of these are forms of change, and in the case of movement the change has to do with location.5 For some reason, contrary to what one would think, studies of the aesthetics of movement and mobility, especially in everyday environments, are not very common. This does not mean that the aesthetics of movement has not been dealt with at all. There are at least two routes to do this. First, there is the route of environmental aesthetics and other branches of philosophy dealing with aesthetic issues in everyday surroundings. It is interesting that environmental aesthetics has had a lot to say about places, spaces and sites,6 but less about different forms of movement. Still it is clear that as conceptions of a place, which are often to a large extent aesthetically set, affect how it is experienced, treated and valued, the same can be supposed to be the case as regards movement. As it is a fact that people are not only situated in and related to places but also to different forms of movementdriving a car, walking, flying, migrating, travelling abroad, commuting, skateboarding, surfing the Internetit is important to understand also these relationships. What sort of an identity a way we move around has in our thinking affects how we treat it, as

Manuel Castells, The Information Age, vols. 13, (Blackwell 19961998); Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space (Sage Publications 1994). 5 On Aristotles concept of kinesis and on Aristotles influence on the development of (philosophy of) physics see Mary Louise Gill and James G. Lennox (eds.), Self-Motion, From Aristotle to Newton (Princeton University Press 1994); Julian B. Barbour, Absolute or Relative Motion? Volume 1: The Discovery of Dynamics (Cambridge University Press 1989); Peter K. Machamer and Robert G. Turnbull (eds.), Motion and Time, Space and Matter (Ohio State University Press 1976); Friedrich Kaulbach, Der philosophische Begriff der Bewegung (Bhlau Verlag 1965). 6 For example: Daniel Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels (eds.): The Iconography of Landscape, Cambridge University Press 1988; Christian Norberg-Schulz, Genius Loci (Rizzoli International Publications1980); Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place (University of Minnesota Press 1977).


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well as its prerequisites and causes. Moreover, its identity is often aesthetically qualified so that a way of moving can be considered beautiful, ugly, cool, nice, dull, etc. Such conceptions are concretely manifested in everyday surroundings in the form of roads, vehicles and actions and they also have considerable economic, ecological and other consequences. For example, following Filippo Tommaso Marinettis ideals leads one to very different results than following those of Henry Thoreau.7 The other route to deal with aesthetics of movement can be found in art and philosophy of art. In dance and dance studies, sometimes combined with sports studies, it has naturally been a pivotal theme throughout the fields history,8 and many visual art forms such as kinetic art and cinema, as well as studies of these have provided valuable insights into the subject. Moreover, some ways of moving such as being on the road, wandering in nature and flaneur-life in the city have been much used metaphors in fiction and also in aesthetic-philosophical literature.9 I will take a third route by combining the first and the second, which naturally intertwine in other contexts, as well. In the third section of my article I will give examples of how artistic photographs dealing with movement can be a part of a larger environmental discourse, providing their point of view on the aesthetics of movement. I will also deal with the question of how such artworks can be paired with philosophical aesthetics and why this should be done. I stress that ideas developed in the context of art, however, are not necessarily immediately transportable to our concrete, non-fictional living world without carefully considered re-interpretations. Still I believe that they can have an important role in forming conceptions about movement in general; as a matter of fact, I believe that given the central stand of art in our culture their role is quite essential.10 What we need, in any case, is better understanding of the aesthetics of movement. It is evident that the activities of homo mobilis have interesting

These and related issues have been dealt with by such writers as Michel de Certeau Linvention du quotidien 1. Arts de faire (Gallimard 1980), Wolfgang Schivelbusch Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise (Carl Hanser Verlag 1977), Roger Trancik, Finding Lost Space (Van Nostrand 1986); and Paul Virilio, Esthtique de la disparition (ditions galile 1980). 8 On this history see David Best, Philosophy and Human Movement (George Allen and Unwin 1978); and Roger Copeland and Marshall Cohen (eds.), What is Dance? (Oxford University Press 1983). 9 A good overview, in Finnish, can be found in Matkakirja [Travel Book] edited by MarjaLeena Hakkarainen and Tero Koistinen (Joensuun yliopisto 1998). See also Kunstforum, sthetik des Reisens, no. 136, May 1997; Atlas der Knstlerreisen, no. 137, August 1997. 10 This can be compared to what Stephen Daniels and Denis Cosgrove write about the relation of landscapes and their representations: To understand a built landscape, say an eighteenthcentury English park, it is usually necessary to understand written and verbal representations of it, not as illustrations, images standing outside it, but as constituent images of its meaning or meanings. Stephen Daniels, Denis Cosgrove, The Inocography of Landscape (Cambridge University Press 1988), p. 1.

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aesthetic aspects, which are pivotal if we want to understand these activities at all. To take still another example from the everyday life it seems clear that it is aesthetically rewarding to drive a good car, and that this affects how cars and roads are designed and why people often choose driving instead of walking. On the other hand, even in the early history of the railroad train journeys were often considered boring. This, in turn, made people want to read in trains, and this fact soon lead to growing sales of newspapers and literature. But what, in fact, is the aesthetics of a good car or a boring train? Art, even if it is not identical with the aesthetic, can be used in making sense of this.

Before I turn to the role of art in the discourse concerning the aesthetics of movement I say some words about the role of philosophical aesthetics in it. Why exactly should we understand movement from the point of view of aesthetics and how should this understanding be used? One evident answer is just to refer to our general will to know and understand, to our intellectual curiosity. This may be a part of the answer but I openly question whether it is enough. I am after knowledge that can be used in contexts like concrete environmental planning, engineering and administration. Shortly: how can aesthetics be used in shaping and forming the environment we live in? If movement is an important phenomenon structuring our living world and if it is often approached aesthetically, how can theoretical knowledge of aesthetics be used in affecting movement, conceptions of it and its reasons and causes so that our living world will be improved? Aesthetics adopting such a role has sometimes been called applied aesthetics11 and it comes close to the way of thinking of pragmatist aesthetics that has been described by John Dewey and, in his footsteps, Richard Shusterman. In general, philosophical aesthetics can bring conceptual clarity and good, critical formulations of central problems, concepts and various possible answers into the discourse on movement and environments. Also, aestheticians should know the history of their field and be able to adapt its material to the present. All this can and should serve other interested parties such as politicians, planners, engineers, researchers and the like. The field of the aesthetics of movement is naturally extremely vast and raises many general sub-questions, including the following: 1. How do the aesthetic aspects of movement differ from other aspects of movement and how can they be identified?

Yrj Sepnmaa, Applied Aesthetics, in Ossi Naukkarinen and Olli Immonen (eds.), Art and Beyond (International Institute of Applied Aesthetics 1995); Ronald W. Hepburne, Can There Be Such a Thing as Applied Aesthetics? at (International Institute of Applied Aesthetics). For an extensive bibliography of literature related to applied aesthetics see also J. Douglas Porteous, Environmental Aesthetics (Routledge 1996).


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2. What is in our focus when dealing with the aesthetics of movement? Objects, processes or something else? 3. From whose point of view should we approach movement in different contexts? From that of the mover, the onlooker or from some other point of view? 4. How do we perceive movement? By seeing, hearing, feeling or otherwise? 5. How do we refer to movement and identify it? With words, pictures, other movements or otherwise? 6. How is movement related to other forms of change? 7. What (philosophical) causes do different answers to these questions have? The task of philosopher is to answer these and related questions. However, the problem often is how could we get those other interested parties pay attention to the answers and to the many-sidedness of aesthetic issues in general. The problem is also how to keep economic or political issues from dominating the discussion of movement. When one talks about affecting concrete phenomena and thus making the world better, it is not typically enough if one is a good philosopher by philosophers standards. One has to be able to open up the relevant points in ways that are understandable and interesting to as many as possible. This means, broadly speaking, taking notice of marketing, politics and rhetoricsor being a propagandist if you like. Also, it almost inevitably means breaking with the ideal of neutral, purely descriptive and detached aesthetics. Here, one typically has an opinion and defends it, actively engaging in ones social environment. This opening up of relevant issues can probably be done in many ways, but now I only follow one path. What interests me now is combining art and philosophical aesthetics in forming conceptions and representations of environments and of movement in them. How can the aesthetics of movement be made perceivable and understandable using this combination?

It is time for examples. First, I take two photographs by Tapio Heikkila Finnish photographer, researcher and government official (senior adviser) at the Ministry of the Environment. Heikkil often takes pictures for the use of landscape management and administration in particular: as one part of his job as official he has, together with his colleagues, developed a detailed system for documenting the Finnish agri-landscape and its changes. One point of the documentation is to reveal the value of certain landscapes to politicians and officials who are in responsible for creating systems of conservation and for concrete decisions concerning the use of these areas. The value is often mostly aesthetic, although not only: contrary to what Ludwig Wittgenstein might say, it is typical to call a landscape beautiful, and its beauty is one important reason

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for protecting it. In Finland preserving beautiful landscapes and nature is set as a goal even in the law, for example in the new Nature Conservation Act of 1997.12 Politicians and others in power do not necessarily have a possibility to visit areas and sites whose destiny is in their hands, and photographs can help them form an impression of the subject. Heikkils pictures can be seen as statements: he shows how a particular landscape looks. But they are not neutral any more than any other photograph is. In this context it is important to notice that Heikkil, first, often clearly looks for aesthetically interesting subjects and, second, his way of taking pictures is considered to be of very high quality; he has won several awards, the last one being WWF Finlands prize for the Nature Book of the Year 2000. In addition, he has published books and organized exhibitions on his work. Thus I simply take his work as aesthetically rewarding and as art. The pictures chosen for this paper show traces and possibilities of movement in a certain environment and reveal something of the aesthetics of movement. The first one from the year 1993 (fig. 1) is a picture of an old country road in the southeastern part of Finland, near Savonlinna. The picture seems to suggest that it is a good road, at least aesthetically. How does the picture convey this? Before we can even start to answer the question we have to specify it: From whose point of view and in what way does the road seem to be good aesthetically? How do we perceive its aesthetics? How do we actually perceive movement in this case? I do not try to answer these questions in detail here but point only to a couple of directions to go in search for the answers. The country road with its colors and forms is surely nice to look at as a photograph, but does it feel good to drive or walk along it? I happen to know that parts of it are almost unsafe to drive by car, but it is an ideal for biking if one has a mountain bike. It is fairly quiet, its up-and-down rhythm is pleasing and it provides very beautiful sights, sounds and odors. Also, its hills are so steep and long that they really challenge anyone who wants to climb them with tent, sleeping bag and other camping equipment on a bicycle; if one succeeds the feeling is great. Movement is first of all felt. This suggests that its aesthetic value is not only in its visual aspects but also in its kinetic, olfactory and other aspects. In this case we do not focus on visual objects especially, and the point of view, or point of experience rather, cannot be that of the onlooker only. Moreover, we do not perhaps focus on any kind of object; instead we are a part of the environment.13

In Finnish even the word kaunis (beautiful) is used in the act. In English the official description of the act reads like this: The act introduces a new programme designed to protect areas of valuable landscapes in areas where human activity has greatly shaped the landscape for centuries. There areas are mainly selected for their aesthetic value. . . See http://www.vyh. fi/eng/environ/legis/nature.htm. 13 I am aware of the fact that what can be considered aesthetic is a tough philosophical problem even if I ignore it here. For example, can kinetic experiences be aesthetic and how? I have dealt


Ossi Naukkarinen

I believe that it is easy admit that moving along such a road is aesthetically pleasing in many ways. Still, such roads are rare and getting even more so. The main reason for this is that they are slow, laborious to maintain and unsafe for cars. This notion takes us to the other photograph. The other picture from the year 2000 (fig. 2) is of a construction site of a new highway through a rural area in southwestern Finland, near Turku. The situation does not seem good. An ancient agricultural landscape will be torn apart by a huge highway that does not fit into the area visually or otherwise at all. To my mind, what we see now and in the future is ugly, disharmonious and dull. What we will hear is pure noise. Yet the highway will be built. But again, we have to ask about the aesthetics of movement more specifically. If the route and movement on it does not look or sound good to me, could it feel good and to whom? At least it is obvious that it is built for car drivers. The highway will be fast and safe, and it probably feels kinetically rewarding to drive along it if one has a good, fast car or motorcycle. Again, the aesthetics of movement does not rest on visual aspects only. Both pictures are visual, of course, but they are able to refer to other aspects of experience as well if one has any experience with the same sort of roads. When we see the pictures we can almost feel, smell and hear something; through the pictures we feel the roads or at least are urged to do so.14 This awareness of all of the sensual and emotional elements of the experience challenges traditional philosophical aesthetics and makes one search for new methods of philosophizing. Furthermore, it challenges one-sided planning and administration practices. How, for example, should we refer to the feeling of treadling up a steep hill so that such experiences could be taken in consideration in planning? The crucial point is that we cannot even discuss whether they should be taken in consideration in the first place if we do not have ways to refer to them in discussion. Perhaps this can be done by pictures, words or perhaps with both, together or separately. We should explore these possibilities when we discuss whether and how we value the forms of movement made possible by roads like those in Heikkils photographs. A photograph can be a very effective kick-starter of this kind of discussion but it is typically not enough in itself. Why is this so? I would say that Heikkil likes old country roads, questions the whole idea of highways, and uses his
with such questions in my book Aesthetics of the Unavoidable (International Institute of Applied Aesthetics 1998) and my solution can be described historical-institutional. The notion that the one who experiences something aesthetically is part of the environment experienced and not a distant observer is typical in environmental aesthetics. See Arnold Berleant, Aesthetics and Environment, (Temple University Press 1992); Yrj Sepnmaa, The Beauty of Environment, Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, ser. B, tom. 234 (Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia 1986). 14 This, also, could be taken as a philosophical problem and be approached as one concerning representation or contextualizing pictures, for example. Interesting insights into these questions are presented by W. J. T. Mitchell in Picture Theory (The University of Chicago Press 1994) and by Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen in Reading Images (Routledge 1996).

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photographs to support his opinions. But how can all this be seen and why does he have such opinions? The pictures need to be accompanied by words to give a better idea of this. Heikkil does this in such books as the WWF-prize winning Suomalainen kulttuurimaisema [The Finnish Cultural Landscape] (Tammi 2000), and my interpretation can be seen as an additional effort. Lets look at these two photos again. To begin with, the photograph of the construction site was taken from a long distance: Heikkil did not even want to go near it. It was taken on a gray, perhaps early winter day, which are generally considered unpleasant in Finland. Also, it was taken at a phase of the construction work when everything seemed jagged and unfinished. The country road, in turn, was photographed on a warm June day as a close-up. It is plain to see that the road has been used for decades or centuries, which emphasizes how well the road sits in its environment. The photographs show the country road as unified, harmonious and well-adapted to its surroundings and the highway as its opposite. One could imagine pictures where the situation is the other way round but Heikkil wants to show it like this, and I admit that I support his choice. When one starts to speak in these terms, one cannot lean on photographs alone but has to take notice of the entire cultural context. One could add that highways represent a lifestyle and attitude in which speed and effectiveness are highly valued and where pollution or noise is not a serious problem. They represent a certain ideology or worldview. One could perhaps say with Terry Eagleton15 that an ideology is an ideology in the deep sense only when someone adopts it aesthetically. One has to actually like and support its aesthetic manifestations, have taste for it; it is not a coincidence that totalitarian systems are very strict about their symbols, uniforms, parades and artworks. Here, Heikkil and highway people simply have differing ideologies and aesthetics as parts or indicators of them. It is important to notice that both roads and both ways of moving have their aesthetics and that the value of this aesthetics is tied up with a wider worldview. Both are good from a certain viewpoint. When making decisions about traffic systems these ideologies collide and they need to be analyzed in discussion. The reason why aesthetic aspects should also be discussed in depth is exactly their importance for worldviews. Dealing with aesthetic questions is a way of dealing with worldviews, and by influencing conceptions of aesthetic values one may affect conceptions of the whole. Typically, if something is claimed to be good or bad aesthetically it is claimed to be ethically good or bad, as well. In this sense, at least, aesthetics and ethics belong together. In his article Can There Be such a Thing as Applied Aesthetics?16 Ronald W. Hepburn sketches how philosophical aesthetics can be useful in public

15 16

Terry Eagleton: The Ideology of the Aesthetic (Blackwell 1990). See at


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deliberations and debates on land-use and appreciation and other similar contexts. The central idea is that aesthetics can analyze, with the help of its tradition, the alternative points of view that are relevant in a particular discussion these connected with a wider worldview, of course. Hepburn mentions seven fairly common aesthetic sets of principles that have a strong history and can be relevantly applied in various discourses. These are (1) the triad of diversity, individuality and particularity, (2) expression, (3) unifying of a complex, (4) freedom of imagination, (5) contemplativity, (6) heightened awareness of consciousness and (7) sublimity. There are certainly more of such sets of principles and they all can be used in giving context-specific answers to the general question concerning aesthetics of movement mentioned above. It is easy to see that they could be used as the basis for an in-depth discussion of the aesthetics of movement in Heikkils photographs, as well. Both the pictures themselves and environments they represent can be approached by asking how are they related, e.g., to particularity, contemplativity, sublimity or beauty and to other (past) cases also connected with the same sets of principles? All this, of course, comes close to what is done in normal art criticism all the time, although not very often with a special focus on movement. In any case, I want to underscore that photographs like Heikkils or other artistic means are urgently needed to find concrete solutions to environmental problems, even if they are not strong and specific enough to stand without verbal aesthetic analysis. The power of these pictures is in their ability to make the aesthetic (and other) values concretely perceivable and emotionally touching. It would be practically impossible to achieve anything of the like, say, through a regular road map. I take another example. Petri Anttonen is also a Finnish photographer, but his work is very different from that of Heikkil. His pictures often deal with actual movement, flow of time and methods of depicting it with the help of still photographs. Thus his work continues along the path made by such early pioneers of movement photography as Etienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge. Anttonen has installed a special mechanical (analogical, not digital) system in his camera, using a slowly sliding focal-plane shutter to produce his pictures. Instead of capturing the frozen moments typical in photography, Anttonens photographs depict on a single surface an unbroken continuum of moments, the flow of time, and movement. Normally, time layers in pictures taken with long exposure times are inscribed on top of one another again and again. In sector photography, however, layers of time and movement appear on film as adjacent dots that touch one another yet do not overlap. The image folds into several visual angles, and the results can be seen in shots like Nine Cars to the East, Ten to the West, A Glass on the Move and a Die, and The Movement of Dandelions, each from the year 1999 (figures 3, 4, and 5, respectively).

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As I see these photographs they are not statements but more like questions or invitations to new ways of seeing and representing movement. If Heikkils pictures are close to our normal way of seeing, Anttonens works problematize it. They reveal what happens when one perceives movement in a different way. In so doing, Anttonens photographs also reveal how used we are to some ways of representation, be they inborn or culturally developed or both.17 They show how only a somewhat atypical approach to movement can profoundly affect the experience of the world. As a result, Anttonens pictures can contribute to the general discussion of how to refer to movement and how to perceive it. Anttonens photographs do not seem to take a stand on what kind of environment is valuable or desirable. They do not deal with physical environmental traces and possibilities of movement as indicators of a worldview. Rather, they seem to suggest that to approach almost any movement in any environment in a personal, individual way is interesting; it is easy to admit that Anttonens own pictures are fascinating even if their subjects are quite ordinary things. This, perhaps, indicates supporting individuality more generally as well, and in this regard Anttonens worldview is ultimately not so far away from Heikkils. The work of bothlike that of many other artists as wellcan be seen as comments against unifying and standardizing thinking. Anttonens works quite literally make us see things we have never seen before. This also means, of course, that those vistas could not be reached in any other way, and this is enough to make them important participants in the discourse on aesthetics of movement. Because of their individual nature they really make us consider the point of view used and the possible kinetic and other aspects of movement depicted by Anttonen. Again, we could refer to Ronald Hepburne and connect Anttonens work to the long tradition of certain aesthetic values, especially to individuality. This could open up the value of this particular approach to movement to those who have not realized it before. And again: this sort of thrill over individuality can be useful in environmental administration and engineering, too, if it is presented well enough for discussion. Of course, it is a different matter altogether whether, in the final analysis, individuality should be taken as an ideal anywhere outside the realm of art. In his article Aesthetic Appreciation and the Many Stories about Nature18 continuing the discussion of cognitive and non-cognitive approaches to environmental aestheticsThomas Heyd emphasizes that aesthetic appreciation of nature calls for many points of view, thus criticizing Allen Carlsons somewhat one-sided science-oriented approach. One of his arguments is that scientific knowledge may be neutral, or even harmful, to our aesthetic appreciation of

Anttonen himself deals with this question in his Licentiates thesis Ajan kosketus [The touch of time] (University of Art and Design Helsinki 1999) through Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco and Nelson Goodman. 18 Thomas Heyd, Aesthetic Appreciation and the Many Stories about Nature, British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 41, no. 2, April 2001.


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nature, because it directs our attention to the theoretical level and the general case, diverting us from the personal level and the particular case that we actually need to engage.19 Heyd is not saying that scientific knowledge should not be used at all in the environmental discourse but he reminds us that it is not enough or the only alternative, especially if we talk about aesthetics. This notion is relevant in the case of Heikkils and Anttonens photographs as well. I said earlier that their power lies in their ability to make aesthetic values concrete and emotionally touching. Now, one can add that they bring up the personal experience and the particular case that the scientific, statistical, political, economic and many other contexts often omit. In addition to that they introduce new ways of seeing ones surroundings and movement and surely contribute to many other issues I cannot even think of herean in-depth analysis including well justified generalizations would be much longer than this brief presentation. I any case, as scientific approaches typically deal with their subject matter from one particular point of view at a time, artistic approaches do the same. They are not more or less truthlike or generally better than any other approach, and quite in the same way as there must be many scientific viewpoints to anything we want to understand deeply, there must be many artistic approaches to movement if we want to get a good idea of its aesthetics through art. The good news is that there is no lack of such approaches. As said before, the somewhat less good news is that there is no guarantee that artistic or other aesthetic approaches will be taken into account in policy planning and administration. In order not to be nave one has to remember all the time that although aesthetic issues are important and even unavoidable for human culture, they are not the only important things. What makes the situation very complex, however, is that it is not even simple to say when aesthetic considerations are actually taken into account and when ignored. We are back to the general question of how to identify an aesthetics of movement. For example, it may seem that highways are built for completely other than aesthetic reasons but when considered more carefully also these other reasonssafety, effectiveness, etc.probably have their aesthetic aspects. But when are those aesthetic aspects valuable, desirable, good? There is no other way to find out than to go on with the discussion, and I believe that one of the best ways to do this is in close co-operation with art.


Ibid., p. 126.

Fig. 1

Photograph be the Tapio Heikkil

Fig. 2

Photograph be the Tapio Heikkil

Fig. 3. Nine Cars to the East, Ten to the West. Photograph by the Petri Anttonen

Fig. 4. A Glass on the Move and a Die. Photograph by the Petri Anttonen

Fig. 5. The Movement of Dandelions. Photograph by the Petri Anttonen