Nazlie Najafi – Aesthetic Phils Day Off
This winter break, I had the goal to have a “flow” experience that meets Csikszentmihalyi’s criteria, after realizing that most of the aesthetic experience’s i’ve had have met Beardsleys criteria. I’m not a performer, so I don’t have many opportunities to experience flow (loss of self consciousness, transcendence of ego boundaries), most of the time the aesthetic experiences I have involve at least some distance from the source of ~aesthetic pleasure~. So I made it my goal to have at least one flow experience over winter break. I also wanted to have one aesthetic experience and compare it to the flow experience to see overall which experience is the most intense and more rewarding.
For my flow experience, my friends and I spontaneously decided to hold a dance party at a local venue. The plan was that we would all DJ at the event and it would be a fun event to wrap up the year. We planned the entire event in 4 days, which was a time crunch, but it did ended up being successful. Although nerves were high for all of us, the environment we were in felt like home, and once I got on stage, I lost track of all of the worries I had about the performance and event. I was completely immersed in mixing songs together, and although I had just started teaching myself how to dj a week before, my skills were sufficient enough to be able to overcome any difficult transitions. It was great to look up and see that the crowd was enjoying my djing and dancing along to it, there was also visual pleasure from the experience with pretty, colourful lighting and holographic streamers.
For my aesthetic experience, I involuntarily went through a german criterion collection phase. One of the films I watched during my fleeting obsession was Ali: Fear Eats The Soul by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. I have REALLY bad attention problems, and whenever I watch a film on my computer, I get distracted about 8-10 times. Since it’s so easy to pause the movie, it’s hard for me to really have a connection with the film and immerse myself in the plotline and different characters, so I usually prefer a movie theatre trip. However, this film had these really beautiful, still and silent scenes where it felt like I was also there in the scene, frozen with the characters. These types of scenes started out the film, so I was immediately immersed in the film. These scenes went along perfectly with the story line, which I also had a personal connection to, so throughout the entire film, I had completely lost myself in the film.
Overall, I’d say that the flow experience was much more powerful than the aesthetic experience. The fact that I was actually acting out an action, and that was the source of my pleasure, was much more powerful than watching a film from a distance that I could vaguely relate to. But at the same time, both experiences are powerful in their own way and I appreciate both.