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The Aesthetic Animal$
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Henrik Hogh-Olesen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190927929

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190927929.001.0001

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Who Lives Here?

Who Lives Here?

Decoration, Design, and Ornamentation on Objects and Surroundings

Chapter:
(p.95) 6 Who Lives Here?
Source:
The Aesthetic Animal
Author(s):

Henrik Hogh-Olesen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190927929.003.0007

Chapter 6 follows the aesthetic impulse full circle and explores the human need to decorate objects and surroundings, as well as the marking of property and status in the public domain. Furthermore, it looks at phenomena such as folk art, street art, and graffiti. The purpose of the chapter is to show that such extravaganzas too make biological sense and thereby strengthen the argument that aesthetic behavior is natural for humans. Decorations signal personal fitness, ability, care, effort, resources, as well as power, because they ensure social status, for instance to attract more sexual partners. Like our body ornamentation, decoration is immediate communication transmitting key social and evolutionary information to the surroundings.

Keywords:   folk art, graffiti, tags, street art, decoration, design, personal fitness, status, ornaments, stimulation-seeking

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