Instead of treating art as a unique creation that requires reason and refined taste to appreciate, Elizabeth Grosz argues that art-especially architecture, music, and painting-is born from the disruptive forces of sexual selection. She approaches art as a form of erotic expression connecting sensory richness with primal desire, and in doing so, finds that the meaning of art comes from the intensities and sensations it inspires, not just its intention and aesthetic.
By regarding our most cultured human accomplishments as the result of the excessive, nonfunctional forces of sexual attraction and seduction, Grosz encourages us to see art as a kind of bodily enhancement or mode of sensation enabling living bodies to experience and transform the universe. Art can be understood as a way for bodies to augment themselves and their capacity for perception and affection-a way to grow and evolve through sensation. Through this framework, which knits together the theories of Charles Darwin, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Jakob von Uexküll, we are able to grasp art’s deep animal lineage.
Grosz argues that art is not tied to the predictable and known but to new futures not contained in the present. Its animal affiliations ensure that art is intensely political and charged with the creation of new worlds and new forms of living. According to Grosz, art is the way in which life experiments with materiality, or nature, in order to bring about change.