The arguments presented by those archaeological and anthropological theorists discussed in Part 2 are obviously deeply flawed, and these flaws need to be exposed. Between their different ways of thinking we are in danger of being herded into a space evacuated of aesthetic intensity and affective response.
An overarching assumption (or presupposition) dominates this type of thinking – i.e. that when one associates an experience of aesthetic affectivity with a particular non-Western or prehistoric artifact, one is merely uncritically applying (wholly subjectively) a late Western construct linked to individualism, taste, and decoration. Our concern with experiences of aesthetic affectivity solicited by different visual and material cultures is consigned to being a peculiarly post-Rennaisance form of cultural embroidery that is an entirely inappropriate frame for approaching prehistoric, non-Western or hunter-gatherer visual culture and crafted artifacts. Little or no consideration is given, however, to the view that aesthetic affect is an ongoing trans-historical and transcultural cognitive and existential feature of human beings. Each of the thinkers assume consideration of aesthetic experience to be nothing more than a late Western cultural product, and, as such, totally inadmissible when considering Paleolithic images. Any derivation of aesthetic affect generated from one’s experience of works from prehistory is always an unwarranted projection and an unjustified supplement to the work itself. It is just a superfluous and entirely unnecessary feature that should be eradicated from the ethno-archaeological pantheon for good. If one succeeds in evacuating Paleolithic images Continue reading