In the contemporary world, while cosmopolitanism is in decline in moral and political discourses, it is central to the world making activity of visual artists. Thus, the aim of this talk is to both recall some of the widest visions of cosmopolitanism, and link them to the tacit forms of cosmopolitanism that are manifest in contemporary art. This talk will focus on two kinds of agents of cosmopolitanism: the philosophers of antiquity and the artists of contemporaneity. It may also seem bizarre at first but the link between past and present is also found in physics. It is in physics that cosmopolitanism began, and it is the reflections produced by contemporary physicists who are once again opening the big questions on the worldview of life and the cosmos.

Nikos Papastergiadis is the Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures, based at The University of Melbourne. He is a Professor in the School of Culture and Communication at The University of Melbourne and founder - with Scott McQuire - of the Spatial Aesthetics research cluster. He is Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project ‘Precincts and cultural participation in networked public space'. Prior to joining the School of Culture and Communication, he was Deputy Director of the Australia Centre at the University of Melbourne, Head of the Centre for Ideas at the Victorian College of Arts, and lecturer in Sociology and recipient of the Simon Fellowship at the University of Manchester. He has been both co-editor and author of journal Third Text and his publications include Modernity as Exile (Manchester University Press 1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (Rivers Oram 1998), The Turbulence of Migration (Polity Press 2000), Metaphor and Tension (Artspace 2004) Spatial Aesthetics: Art Place and the Everyday (Rivers Oram 2006), Cosmopolitanism and Culture (Polity Press 2012), Ambient Perspectives (2013) and Ambient Screens (2016).

Part three of the three-part Aesthetics and Cosmopolis series.

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