Metaesthetics List

Ron Pellegrino, April 12, 2001.

The purpose of the Metaesthetics List is to give interested parties an opportunity to collaborate in the exploration, development, and articulation of metatheories of the electronic arts of sound and light that include an integrative approach to music, dynamic visual art, established technology, emerging technology, cybernetics, metaphysics, psychophysics, psychology, mathematics, sociology, communications theory, ancient knowledge, emerging knowledge, and any other related branches of human learning and searching. Over time the archives of the Metaesthetics List should prove to be a valuable resource for those wanting to plumb the depths of thought and the foundations of the electronic arts of sound and light.

Subscribers to the Metaesthetics List are encouraged to be as creative as they like in expanding the boundaries of communications in the electronic arts of sound and light. There are no restrictions on style or content as long as the communications are consistent with the purpose of the list. Communications should be text only; that text can include descriptions and links to any other types of media.

As of April 12, 2001, for starters, the Metaesthetics List will be unmoderated, unfiltered, and otherwise open. Given the purpose of the Metaesthetics List it's likely the postings will be thin initially until the word spreads; even then the postings may be thin. (That proved not to be the case. 4/24/01) Metaesthetics is not a subject for chatters. The Metaesthetics List is also not hardware or software specific nor is it for the sale of products. Again, given the purpose of the Metaesthetics List, the number of subscribers is not expected to be large and unwieldy. Anyone willing to commit to the purpose of the list is welcome to join us in what has become a very special international community of artists and researchers in the electronic arts of sound and light. (As of 2/28/02 there are 10 nations and 4 continents represented.)

A short history of the idea:

The Metaesthetics List is an experiment that extends the reach of my web site on The Electronic Arts of Sound and Light which in itself is an extension of a project I started in 1981 called The Institute for the Electronic Arts and the Humanities. Given all the variables and obstacles of placing such an institute in the usual places I decided early on to turn the project into a virtual institute and to design a life around it. In 1975 while on the faculty of Oberlin College I took a trip to Washington D.C. to talk to officials at the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities about a project based on a metatheory of music that went beyond the usual history and practice approach to theory. The idea was to include and integrate the quickly emerging fields of psychoacoustics, music technologies, and visual music with the classical approach to music theory; but all that was a bit too edgey for those institutions at the time so they opted to fund my more normal projects - papers, pieces, and performances. In 1959 as a sophomore at Lawrence University I took my first formal course in philosophy; from that point on my studies in philosophy (with an emphasis on aesthetics) have continued in an unbroken line. So the point of this short history is that the roots of the Metaesthetics List go back to 1959 with major branches emerging in 1975, 1981, 1995 (start of this web site), and now 2001 (the emergence of the Metaesthetics List).

To monitor our progress read the messages on the Metaesthetics List at and visit the "Metaesthetics issues, topic epi-centers, ideas, and attractors" satellite page, a working list taken from posts by participants in the Metaesthetics List.

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