'Labours of love & self-forgetfulness' : how to craft a secret call to education in art & film

Frimberger, Katja (2024) 'Labours of love & self-forgetfulness' : how to craft a secret call to education in art & film. In: Annual Conference of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, 2024-03-21 - 2024-03-24, University of Oxford, New College.

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This paper explores art’s (especially film’s) formative potential in two parts. In the first part, I draw on German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer and his notion of ‘education’ as it unfolds in the aesthetic appearance (Darstellung) of the cultural world – with the artwork’s coming-into-meaning as the paradigmatic example. For Gadamer, the artwork’s formative potential is bound up in its capacity to ‘call’ our senses and intellect into an encounter with what is ‘other’ to our subjectivity. Drawn into a mode of paying attention to what appears (e.g. in film’s moving images), we are moved to lose our-selves and be present in a new way to familiar world objects and relations. The second part of the paper imagines the ontological conditions that make possible the artwork’s ‘secret call’ to education. Why do certain artworks (Gebilde) summon us to be present to them? To pursue this question, I turn to French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain who points us beyond the cultural realm (and Gadamer’s historical consciousness) – towards Thomas Aquinas’ metaphysical notions of Beauty and Love. In Maritain’s reading, art’s secret call to education and, with that, our movement into self-formation – as a form of ‘ethical education’ - is bound up in the artist’s act of making as the ‘labour of love’ that is artistic virtue.